March 16 – The date that witnessed many firsts in International cricket

March 16 – The date that witnessed many firsts in International cricket

The knocks that were recorded on March 16 still hold the record.

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar. (© MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The cricket experts might be divided deciding whether the sport is a batsman’s game or not but surely March 16 is well dominated by batsmen. Some brilliant batting displays were witnessed on this date which turned out to be the firsts and still standing as a record in International cricket.

New Zealand vs England at AMI Stadium, Christchurch in 2002:

The home side got outplayed by Nasser Hussain led England team, who were seven wickets away from a win at the lunch interval on the 4th day. New Zealand were three down for 140 while chasing a huge total of 550. They lost their skipper Stephen Fleming but Nathan Astle kept hitting boundaries as he raced to a fifty in just 54 balls with ten fours. The all-rounder didn’t bother to change his game while the wickets kept falling at the other end.

He completed his second fifty in 60 deliveries with six fours and seven maximums when his team were reeling at 301/8. He hit Matthew Hoggard for four boundaries in five deliveries in an over before Andrew Caddick took his 6th wicket to leave the hosts at 333/9. Chris Cairns, who suffered a strain in the knee, walked out to bat at No.11 with a runner. Astle went bonkers with the last man standing as he raced from 138 off 124 balls to a 153-ball double century. Thus, Nathan Astle recorded the fastest double century in Test cricket, a record still intact. He was also the first player to score a Test 200 in less than 200 balls.

Nathan Astle
New Zealand batsmen Nathan Astle hits out. (Photo by: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

He hit 27 fours and nine sixes in his course and smashed Andy Caddick for 38 runs in seven consecutive deliveries including three sixes in a row. Astle took New Zealand’s total past 450 with his 11th six as the target came within 99 runs before he was caught behind the very next ball off Hoggard. That brought an end to the 118-run 10th wicket partnership between Astle and Cairns (25*) off just 65 deliveries. Astle finished with 222 off 168 balls scoring 178 runs alone in boundaries.

South Africa vs Netherlands at the Warner Park, St Kitts in 2007:

South Africa’s game against the Netherlands got delayed and reduced to 40 overs-a-side before AB de Villiers was dismissed on the 2nd ball of the game. Graeme Smith (67) and Jacques Kallis (128*) put on a 114-run stand for the 2nd wicket before Herschelle Gibbs joined Kallis. Both the batsmen kept ticking the scoreboard as they stood at 173/2 after 29 overs. With 11 overs remaining in the innings, Gibbs decided to cut loose against leg-spinner Daan van Bunge.

Herschelle Gibbs
Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa hits out. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

He smashed each of the first three balls for sixes down the ground and followed it with a big six over deep mid-wicket. Gibbs lofted the wrist spinner over long-off for his 5th six in as many balls in the over. With another big hit over deep mid-wicket, Herschelle Gibbs became the first batsman in International cricket history to hit six sixes in an over and still the only man to achieve the feat in ODI cricket. Gibbs got out for a 40-ball 72 in the very next over. Boucher hit a 31-ball 75 with the centurion Kallis as they finished with a mammoth 353/3. The Netherlands could only make 132/9 and lost by a huge 221-run margin.

Bangladesh vs India at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka in 2012:

More than one year, a World Cup victory came, England and Australian tours were done and dusted but Sachin Tendulkar’s wait for his 100th International century remained. The master blaster didn’t have any luck at converting the 70s, 80s and even a couple 90s he made after the century No.99. The day finally came when India faced in their 2nd match of the 2012 Asia Cup against the hosts Bangladesh.

Sachin Tendulkar & Suresh Raina
Sachin Tendulkar & Suresh Raina. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Sachin shared a 162-run stand with Virat Kohli for the 2nd wicket after Gautam Gambhir (11) fell in the 6th over. He brought up his fifty off 63 deliveries with a lofted shot off Shakib Al Hasan which was the 38-year-old’s first ODI fifty in ten innings. He kept scoring in singles to push his score to 78 off 99 balls and closed in towards a history ton. In the next 16 deliveries, Sachin managed to score only four runs as pressure mounted on him and Suresh Raina at the other end.

He reached 99 with a couple of boundaries and a bulk of dots before completing the 100th 100 with a single off Shakib towards square leg region in the 44th over. Sachin brought up his 49th ODI century in 138 balls; his slowest and also the first against Bangladesh in the format. Sachin finished with a 147-ball 114 as India posted 289/5 in 50 overs. The historic moment came in losing cause as Bangladesh chased down the target in 49.2 overs with five wickets in hand.