February 14 - Major cricketing events on Valentine's Day

February 14 – Major cricketing events on Valentine’s Day

Fanatical happenings in the history of International Cricket on Valentine’s Day.

Chaminda Vaas
Chaminda Vaas. (Photo Source: Twitter)

February 14 stands for Valentine’s Day but the date witnessed some of the fanatical games in the history of International Cricket that includes some of the rarest bowling performances ever recorded.

February 14, 1896 – South African collapse:

England’s tour of South Africa for a 3-match Test series in 1896 got under at Port Elizabeth in a game where as many as 15 players made their Test debut including eight of the visiting side. South Africa, who elected to bowl first reduced the visiting team for 185 and got bowled out for 93 on the first day of the game. England, who resumed their 2nd at 0/1 on the second day posted 226 to set a 319-run target in front of the home team.

George Lohmann turned out to be a nightmare for the hosts as he followed up his first innings figures of 7/38 with 8/7 in only 9.4 overs to clean up them for just 30 runs. It is the joint 2nd lowest total in the history of Test cricket till date. No player other than Lohmann took seven and more wickets in a Test innings by conceding fewer runs than wickets taken. Lohmann wrapped up the game with a hat-trick of the last three balls he bowled to finish with figures of 9.4-5-7-8 in the 2nd innings. (5-ball overs)

February 14, 1982 – An extraordinary choke by England:

England toured the new full member nation Sri Lanka in 1982 for two ODI matches which will be followed by the home team’s maiden Test match. The first ODI game turned out to be a thriller in which England posted 211 in the 45-over game while the home team fell short of the target by only six runs. Colombo’s Sinhalese Cricket Club hosted both the ODIs that were played on successive days.

The home team put on 215/7 in the restricted 45 overs thanks to a 109-ball 86 by their opener Sidath Wettimuny. English team looked at home in the chase as Graeme Gooch put on 109 with Geoff Cook by scoring an 85-ball 74. Small contributions came in for the visiting side as they stood at 202/5 at the end of 43rd over with another 14 runs needing from the last 12 balls. From this stage, the experienced team committed something that no one would have expected.

Mike Gatting’s runout triggered a historic collapse after which England’s Captain Keith Fletcher and wicket-keeper Bob Taylor followed the same way. Derek Underwood too was runout on the first ball he faced while Bob Wills hit straight into the hands of the fielder on the penultimate delivery when they needed four more runs for a win. England lost the game by a 3-run margin as they added only 11 runs for the last five wickets in the last two overs.

February 14, 2003 – Chaminda Vaas starts in his own way:

Sri Lanka elected to field first in the World Cup game against Bangladesh in Pietermaritzburg. The Bangladesh opener Hannan Sarkar took the first strike against Chaminda Vaas but his stay didn’t last long as he failed to read the incoming ball which cleaned up his stumps. Mohammad Ashraful got a similar delivery first up and he did manage to put the bat on the ball that popped straight to Vaas and he didn’t miss the opportunity.

Ehsanul Haque tried to survive the incoming delivery from the Sri Lankan left-arm pacer but ended up edging to Mahela Jayawardene in the slips. Thus, Chaminda Vaas recorded a hat-trick on the first three balls of a game, a feat that is matched by no other player in an International game. Irfan Pathan came close with his hat-trick in the last three balls of the first over of 2006 Karachi Test.