In cricket the test match is the pinnacle of the sport. Test matches pit one country against another, and as of 2013 only 10 countries have test status.
To play in a test match means that you are the best batsmen, bowler, wicket-keeper, or all-rounder available for selection. Batsmen are expected to score runs, bowlers are expected to take wickets, and wicket-keepers are expected to take catches. The all-rounder though is expected to do everything, especially scoring runs and taking wickets. One of the ultimate aims for an all-rounder is to score a hundred runs in a match and to take a ten wicket haul; but it is far from an easy thing to achieve.
Centuries in test matches are not a rare occurrence, and whilst 10 wicket hauls for bowlers is certainly less of a regular occurrence, the fact is that in over two thousand test matches only three men have scored over 100 runs and taken 10 wickets in a match.
A K Davidson
The first cricketer to achieve the feat was the Australian Alan Davidson; whilst playing for his country against the West Indies in the 498th Test Match. Davidson was a feared left-arm fast bowler, also renowned for being able to hit the ball many a mile.
The five day test match commenced on the 9th December 1960, and Davidson faced off against a team that included the likes of Garry Sobers and Frank Worrell.
Batting first the West Indies managed to accumulate 453 runs, with Davidson taking five wickets for 135 runs. In reply Australia managed to score a lead, as they achieved 505 runs, with Davidson contributing 44 runs.
The second innings for both teams was a lower scoring affair with the West Indies only scoring 284. Again Davidson shone with the ball taking 6 for 87, including taking the notable scalp of Garry Sobers, who he bowled. Needing 233 to win, Australia struggled with the bat, and Davidson would top score with 80 runs, before he was run out. In reply to the West Indies, Australia made 232 all out, and so the test match was tied, the first time it had ever happened.
Alan Davidson would finish with match stats of 124 runs and 11 wickets.
I T Botham
It would be almost twenty years before a second all-rounder matched Davidson’s feat of 100 runs and 10 wickets in a test match. The man to do it was Ian Botham, England’s talisman, regular saviour of the team, and one of the finest all-rounders cricket has ever produced.
Starting on the 15th February 1980, the 874th test match got underway with a strong England team facing off against a strong Indian team in Mumbai. The Indian team consisted of the likes of Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar, whilst England had Gooch, Gower and Boycott.
Batting first India could only manage 242 in their first innings, with Botham’s right arm fast-medium bowling taking six wickets for 58 runs. Five of the six wickets came from catches taken by the England wicket-keeper Bob Taylor; the sixth wicket was lbw. England in response also struggled and it was only Botham’s 114 runs that saw the team into a lead when they scored 296 runs.
The second innings for India was even worse than their first, and all that India could score was 149, with only Kapil Dev offering any real resistance, top scoring with 45 not out. Botham again was the pick of the bowlers taking seven wickets for 48 runs. With a target of 96 runs to win, Botham was not required to bat in the second innings, as Gooch and Boycott scored the necessary runs to ensure a ten wicket win for England.
Ian Botham finished the test match with 114 runs and 13 wickets.
It was another legendary all-rounder who achieved the third 100 run, 10 wicket match, and this time it was Pakistan’s Imran Khan. Again the opposition was India, when the two teams met in Faisalabad in January 1983. Once again for the test match number 945, the Indian team contained Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev, whilst Pakistan, along with Imran Khan, playing as captain, also had Javed Miandad in theirs.
Batting first, India scored a respectable 372 runs, but the innings was most noted for Imran Khan taking 6 wickets for 98 runs with his right arm fast bowling. India’s score quickly looked under par though when Pakistan amassed 653 runs, with four Pakistan players scoring centuries, including Imran Khan (117).
In the second innings India set about trying to reduce the deficit, but the only batting resistance came from Sunil Gavaskar (127no) and Mohinder Amaranth (78). By the time India’s innings came to close they were 286 all out, with Imran Khan taking 5 wickets for 82 runs. With a target of only seven runs needed to win the test, Pakistan scored the runs in 2.1 overs, and had therefore won the test by ten wickets.
Imran Khan ended the match with 117 runs and 11 wickets.
Whilst it is not impossible for other all-rounders to achieve 100 runs and ten wickets in a match, it is arguable that the world-class all-rounder is a thing of the past. Current test-teams are normally dominated by four front line bowlers and handful of top-class batsmen, all-rounders are often far better in one discipline than the other.