On this day in 1959: Calculating error robs Hanif Mohammad of maiden first-class 500

On this day in 1959: Calculating error robs Hanif Mohammad of maiden first-class 500

Hanif was run out on 499.

Hanif Mohammad
Hanif Mohammad. (Photo by Getty Images)

Hanif Mohammad remains etched as one of the greatest cricketers Pakistan have ever produced. In 55 Tests, the Gujarat-born right-hard batter churned out 3,915 runs at an average of 43.98. He also had 12 centuries and 15 half-centuries to his credit with a top score of 337 against the West Indies in Barbados back in 1958. But there was an occasion when luck didn’t favour the veteran.

On January 1959, Mohammad could have been the first ever to notch 500 runs in a first-class contest. It was during a game between Karachi and Bahawalpur in the semi-final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. After Karachi won the toss and elected to field, Bahawalpur were bowled out for a paltry 195. In Karachi’s first innings, it was Hanif’s turn to turn the screws on their opponent.

On the first day, he stayed unbeaten on 25 after which he carried on the good work in the second day. At stumps on the second day, Hanif had reached 225 with Karachi’s score at 383 for three. Gradually, he marched on until a blunder at the end of the fourth day. With a couple of balls remaining on the day, Hanif had reached 498, but the scoreboard had not updated.

Luck eludes Hanif Mohammad

It showed 496 and he tried to get to 500 on the same day. He played the penultimate ball of the day past point and completed the first run. Then he tried for the second run, intending to retain strike. The gamble of going for the extra run backfired on him and he fell short by over a yard. After he realized that he missed out on the 500, he was livid and came back to the dressing room, fuming.

He got run out on 499, which was the then highest first-class score. En route the knock, Hanif surpassed Don Bradman’s 452 as well. In 1994, Brian Lara scored an unbeaten 510, representing Warwickshire in a county game against Durham.

In the second innings, Bahawalpur were bowled out for 108 and Karachi won by an innings and 479 runs. Hanif met Bradman when Pakistan toured Australia and the latter was stunned to see a short, slender batter, who had eclipsed his record.