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1 and 1 make 11


Tino Best The result of the recently concluded Test series between England and West Indies was unsurprising with England taking the honours 2-0. West Indies did put a fight though. They showed a lot of grit and determination and played with gusto. Some played with a piece of paper in their pants. Wonder what he did with that after the match!

The third match was quite eventful. Nothing as exciting as a cheetah chasing a deer, catching it and then taking a photo for its Facebook page, but still quite entertaining. Tino Best proved that a ‘Ferrari with no steering wheel’ is still a Ferrari.

Coming in at number 11, he managed to score 95, putting up a partnership of 143 with Dinesh Ramdin. Yes, the ‘I knew I was going to score a century, so I carried a piece of paper in my pocket to lift up and show it to Viv, which I felt was a fitting reply to what he saidguy.

Anyway, here’s a look at some of the other number 11s who scored some gutsy half-centuries.

2. Z Khan v Bangladesh (2004/05) – 75 runs

India were comfortably placed at 393/9, 209 runs ahead of Bangladesh’s 1st inning total of 184. Sachin Tendulkar was still batting his way to an eventual 248 not out. The two of them put on 133. Zaheer contributed 75 runs in that partnership. For a moment there Zaheer must have felt he should have batted at a position which had a 1 less. i.e No. 1, not 11. India won the match by an inning and 140 runs.

3. RO Collinge v Pakistan (1972/73) – 68 runs

Despite a century by debutant Rodney Redmond, New Zealand were tottering at 251/9 in reply to Pakistan’s 402. In came Collinge and put on a 151 run partnership with Brian Hastings who scored 110. The match ended in a draw, but Collinge picked up 4 wickets in the match and bragging rights.

4. A Vogler v England (1905/06) – 62 runs

South Africa had already secured a 52 run lead. After picking up 2 wickets off the 10 to fall during England’s 1st inning 187, Vogler walked in at 239 and took the SA total to 333. England only managed 130 and saved SA the trouble of batting again. Vogler didn’t do much with the ball, but he was South Africa’s top scorer in that match.

5. G McGrath v New Zealand (2004/05) – 61 runs

McGrath went wicket-less in the first inning in which NZ managed to score 353. That was a rare event. Like seeing two comets on the same night, McGrath did something rare in Australia’s batting inning as well. Coming in at 471/9, again a comfortable position, McGrath scored a technically correct 61. He came back with vengeance next inning and scalped 3 wickets. Nothing rare happened later. Australia won by an inning and 156 runs.

6. W Bari v West Indies (1976/77) – 60 runs

Just 14 runs separated the 2 teams in the first innings. This angered the famed WI quartet of fast bowlers and they decimated the Pakistan batting line-up in the second innings. Wasim Bari came in at 158/9. He along with Wasim Raja put on 133 runs taking Pakistan’s total to 291. He was splendid with the keeper’s gloves on and he proved he could play with the batsman’s gloves too. The match ended in a draw, with WI just managing to play out the final day. They lost 9 wickets.

7. J Snow v West Indies (1966) – 59 runs

Snow picked up 2 wickets in the first innings in which West Indies were bowled out for 268. When it was England’s turn to bat, Graveney and J Murray scored centuries each and they were 399/9 when it was Snow’s turn. In that inning however, the number 9 scored a 100, number 10 scored 63 and Snow 59. Guess it was a story with a twist in the tail. England won that match by an innings and 34 runs. Snow was declared the bowler of the match for his 5 wicket match haul.

8. Mushtaq Ahmed v South Africa (1997/98) – 59 runs

This was the first inning of the match. Pakistan was comfortably placed at 305 when Mushtaq came in to bat. He kept Azhar Mahmood company long enough for Azhar to complete his century. Mushi helped himself to a 50 and picked up 3 wickets later. The match ended in a draw, but one wouldn’t be surprised if Ahmed thought of becoming a batting coach someday.

9. P Symcox v Australia (1997/98) – 54 runs

443/9 is what South Africa had reached when Symcox strode in with bat in hand. He smashed 54 off 42 balls. Symcox however was considered better than a number 11, but such was SA’s batting strength that he had to come at 11, after Lance Klusener. That match ended in a draw too.

10. R Hogg v West Indies (1983/84) – 52 runs

In this match, Australia was precariously placed on 182/9 when Hogg was sent in to bat. He must have been trebling at the prospect of facing the tall Joel Garner. But he battled it out and ended the second highest scorer in that inning. He probably took a few shots at the batsmen in his team after that inning. The match was drawn, but not before Hogg took 2 wickets.

These are the top 9 highest scores by a number 11 after Tino Best. These scores came when either their team was down in the dumps or coasting to a huge total. These are the periods when the opposition bowlers relax. Like the rabbit and the hare story that all of us have heard ‘oh so many’ times that we want to hold the rabbit by the scruff of its neck and yell ‘wake up, you stupid bunny’, whenever the opponent is on the mat the bowlers tend to relax, thus providing the number 11s with a few freebies. On the other hand, if the batting team is coasting to a huge total, the bowlers are already tired and are not trying, but hoping the last man gets out soon. A tired effort provides the number 11 with easy runs. It is when the teams are on an equal footing and the number 11 comes to bat, everyone is on their toes. The bowlers and the fielders close in for the kill. They either want the lead or can’t let the opposition go too far ahead. This is because they can quite clearly see ‘there is something to lose.’

This doesn’t take away from the fact that these number 11s can bat. They just don’t like to show off like some batsmen. Kudos! Tino Best and Respect! To all the number 11s out there.

Stats by: Karna Yajnik

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