Earlier this week at Eden Gardens, a young Indian spinner tore through the Australian middle order to take a hat trick early in his career. It wasn’t the greatest ODI hat trick ever, given that it came against a weak Australian batting order and probably the weakest Australian visiting team ever. But Kuldeep Yadav carved his name in the annals of history with his three-wicket burst in the second ODI against the Aussies – bowling Matthew Wade, trapping Ashton Agar before the wicket and getting Pat Cummins caught behind. He had given away 39 runs in his 7 overs up till then, and this hat-trick maiden turned the game on its head in no time.
22-year-old Kuldeep became only the third Indian bowler ever to have taken a hat trick in ODI cricket – after Chetan Sharma and Kapil Dev. He became the first and only left-arm Chinaman spinner to have accomplished this feat. It was only his 9th ODI match.
Here are some fascinating statistics about hat tricks in ODI and Test cricket:
- 8 of the first 15 ODI hat tricks in cricket were taken by Pakistani bowlers between 1982 and 2002. In the last 15 years of ODI cricket, no Pakistani bowler has taken a hat trick.
- 2017 has had three ODI and one Test hat trick so far – 4 being the maximum ever for a calendar year.
- Wasim Akram, Saqlain Mushtaq and Chaminda Vaas are the only bowlers to have taken a hat trick twice each in ODI cricket. Lasith Malinga is the only bowler ever with 3 ODI hat tricks to his name.
- Wasim Akram also had 2 Test cricket hat tricks to his name – no bowler has ever taken 4 international hat tricks except him. Mohammad Sami and Akram are the only bowlers to have Test as well as ODI hat tricks to their names.
- There have been 43 ODI and 43 Test Hat tricks in international cricket. The first Test hat trick was taken back in 1879, while the first ODI hat trick was in 1982. 30 of the last 43 ODI hat tricks have come since 2000.
- Australian bowler Jimmy Mathews is the only bowler ever to take two Test Hat Tricks on the SAME DAY, back in May 1912 against South Africa over two innings.
Here are the top 5 hat tricks ever in international cricket:
5. Dominic Cork (1995, Old Trafford)
You remember him. His slanting run-up and furiously swinging darts. Dominic Cork’s battles with a young Sachin Tendulkar were as famous as Allan Donald’s with the little master. The English bowler had burst onto the scene in 1995, and within a month of making his Test debut, he took the first hat trick by an English bowler in 38 years – against a mighty West Indian team in its last year of dominance. Cork’s hat trick came in only his third test – bowling captain Richie Richardson before trapping Junior Murray and Carl Hooper LBW. England won the Test and squared the 6-match series at 2-2.
4. Lasith Malinga (2007, Georgetown)
Ironically, Sri Lanka lost this ODI at the 2007 ICC World Cup in West Indies against a strong South African team. But it went down as the most unlikely thrillers of the tournament. Chasing 211, South Africa were placed comfortably at 206/5 with more than 5 overs to go. They needed 5 more runs to complete the formality. Lasith Malinga was having an off day, giving away more than 50 runs in his first 8 overs. On the last two balls of the 45th over, he bowled Shaun Pollock and dismissed Andrew Hall. Jacques Kallis, on 86, watched on from the other end, not too tense yet. Only 1 run was scored off the next over, before Malinga came in to bowl his final over. The alarm bells started ringing in a choke-wary South African camp when Kallis was caught behind. History was made in the next ball, as Malinga became the ONLY international bowler ever to take 4 wickets in 4 balls, bowling Makhaya Ntini with a fast Yorker. South Africa still needed 4 runs, with just a wicket left, and spinner Robin Peterson at the crease. Malinga could take 5 in 5 here, and complete the most sensational comeback in the history of cricket. But Peterson lofted one with the fielders in the circle; it went for four. And the most remarkable bowling spell – 2 minutes of madness – ended up on the losing side. If only just.
3. Wasim Akram (1999, Dhaka)
What is a bowling list without a Wasim Akram performance? The first and only Asian Test Championship (4 matches between India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka in Kolkata, Colombo, Lahore and Dhaka) ever resulted in Pakistan winning the Cup by winning two of their three matches. However, it was captain Akram who stepped up in the last two matches – picking up two consecutive hat tricks against Sri Lanka in two weeks, once in the group game (a draw), and then the final. Akram lit up Dhaka with a hat trick for the ages, taking out opener Gunawardene, night watchman Chaminda Vaas and top batsman Mahela Jayawardene over two overs – reducing the Lankans to 9/3. They never recovered, and Pakistan bowled them out for 188, winning by an innings after defeating India at Eden Gardens in the first match. Akram, of course, was the Man of the Series.
2. Irfan Pathan (2006, Karachi)
It was the third Test of India’s second tour of Pakistan in a space of three years. India had won in 2004, but in 2005, after drawing the first two tests, India came into Karachi all guns blazing. Young Irfan Pathan became the first ever Test bowler to take a hat trick in the first over of the match, and the second Indian ever to take a Test hat trick. Pathan had Salman Butt caught in the slips on the fourth ball of the first over of the match, trapped captain Younis Khan LBW and bowled Mohammad Yousuf with a sizzling in-swinger to have Pakistan 0-3 down. It was a phenomenal first few minutes of a Test that will go down in Indian history as perhaps one of their greatest tragedies. Pakistan were 39-6 at one point, before they recovered to post 245, and then put on 599 in their second innings with their top 7 scoring more than 50 (the first time they ever did that). India were bowled out for 265, losing by 341 runs and losing the series 1-0. But Pathan’s spell will forever be remembered, even more so in context of what was to follow.
1. Harbhajan Singh (2001, Kolkata)
The only two Indian test hat tricks ever are also the topmost cricket hat tricks in the history of the game. Who can forget Harbhajan Singh and his phenomenal hat trick against the Aussies at Eden Gardens – a spell that turned the tide of the match and the series, before the legendary partnership between VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid. A 19-year-old Harbhajan snapped up Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne, reducing the marauding Aussies from 252-4 to 252-7. India were still in trouble for the next two days, but it was young Singh’s spunky madness that made them believe for the first time, after being destroyed in the first test at Mumbai. The rest, as they say, is history. Singh ended up with 13 wickets in the Kolkata test match. And yet, it was the miraculous VVS Laxman was who declared the Player of the Match.