Life won’t always give you a second chance, but a Test match just might. With two innings allotted to each side, many batsmen have managed to find form after failing in the first innings. As many as 38 players have scored centuries in both innings of a Test match, but there has been an unfortunate list of cricketers who have bagged a pair (ducks in both innings) in a single Test match.
Here’s a list of ten batsmen, in no particular order, who constructed great careers with the bat, but would like to obliterate those two consecutive blobs from their impeccable records:
The man who revolutionized the role of the number 7 batsman in Tests, Adam Gilchrist was a vital component of the Australian Test side in the late 1990s and early 2000s, also becoming the 41st Test captain for the national side.
In a 96-Test career, Gilchrist amassed 5570 runs at an average of 47.60, commendable for someone who used to come down so low in the order. His highest score was an unbeaten 204 against South Africa. However, he couldn’t get a single run in the Kolkata Test in 2001, a match remembered for VVS Laxman’s 281 and Harbhajan Singh’s hat-trick.
The star-all rounder from England was known for changing the direction of the game with his no-holds-barred batting. Coming down the order, his “devil-may-care” attitude made him a favourite of the crowds. Apart from his bowling, he swung many a matches in England’s favour with his swashbuckling batting, and is most remembered for the Headingley Test of 1981, when he turned around the match with an unbeaten 149.
However, just one match before that, Ian Botham fell for a duck in both innings of the Lord’s Test, and the match eventually ended in a draw.
Mark Waugh famously got into the Australian Test team by replacing his twin brother, Steve, in the line-up in 1991. Graceful and classy, he was known for his effortless strokeplay and excellent fielding. He scored more than 8000 runs in both formats of the game for the national side.
Mark Waugh holds the rather unwanted distinction of being one of the few players to have bagged two consecutive pairs.
During Australia’s tour to Sri Lanka in 1992, Waugh was dismissed in four innings without scoring a single run.
The Australian team went through a wave of resurgence post 1985, including the World Cup win of 1987, and shaped into a set of world beaters over the next decade. Allan Border was the face of the resurgence, captaining the side through a rough period in the beginning. Known for his combative and rugged batting, he holds the record for playing most Test without taking a break (153).
The second batsman to reach 10,000 Test runs, Border bagged a pair at the fag end of his career, against the West Indies at Perth in 1993. He retired from Test cricket an year later.
The former New Zealand captain, who, before Ricky Ponting overtook him, held the record for most ODIs as captain, was a dependable opener who scored over 7000 runs in an 111 Test career, with a high score of 274.
Described by Shane Warne as the best captain in the world, Fleming was known for his graceful drives and steady batting at the top of the order, providing a rock-solid approach in a team filled with powerful strokemakers.
Fleming was noted to have a poor 50 to 100 conversion rate in Tests, and bagged a pair during the Hobart Test against Australia in 1997.
The late Vijay Hazare is remembered for leading India to its first Test win, an innings victory against England at Madras. He also has the distinction of aggregating the fourth highest first-class career runs by an Indian cricketer.
The Maharashtra born batsman was in prolific form on India’s first tour to Australia, scoring hundreds in each innings of the Adelaide Test in 1947-48. From that tour, to Pakistan’s visit in 1950, Hazare managed an average over 70.
However, the great batsman also had a very brief lull in form and bagged a pair in the Kanpur Test against England in 1952. He, therefore, became the first Indian batsman to bag a pair in Tests.
One of the most influential and dynamic players to grace the game for West Indies, Sir Frank Worrell played 51 Tests and compiled 3860 runs, with a career average a shade under 50. His most productive series was in 1950 against England, where he topped the run-charts, aggregating 539 runs at an average close to 90.
After three consecutive 60+ scores in three innings, he bagged a pair in the Melbourne Test against Australia in 1960.
Worrell is also remembered for being the first one to donate blood to Nari Contractor, the Indian opener who got hit on the head by a bouncer and was unconscious for six days straight in 1962.
Tubby, as he was affectionately called, took over the captaincy reins from Allan Border, and helped shape the Australian side into a dominating force. Apart from being a solid opening batsman, he was regarded as an excellent in the slip position, grabbing the then-world record 157 catches as a fielder.
Although Taylor ended his 104 Test career with 7525 runs, averaging 43 and with 19 centuries, he had a poor start to his captaincy. Leading the national side in his first Test, at Karachi, Taylor couldn’t manage a single run in both the innings, falling first to Wasim Akram, and then to Waqar Younis.
The books on Test match batting had to be re-created after the world witnessed a certain Virender Sehwag play. The way he bulldozed through bowling attacks in the longest format changed the role of the opener against the shining red cherry.
A “see-ball hit-ball” player by his own admission, Sehwag is the only Indian to score a triple century in Tests.
Not someone to care about the score, Sehwag, who was rushed to England post a shoulder-surgery, bagged a king-pair (first-ball ducks in both innings) during the Edgbaston Test during India’s tour to the England in 2011. He became the third Indian after BS Chandrasekhar and Ajit Agarkar to bag a king-pair in Tests.
AB DE VILLIERS
It is surprising to find Abraham de Villiers on this list, considering the fact that he once held the record for most innings before a duck in Tests (78). A versatile batsman par excellence, de Villiers has developed into a match winner in all formats with to his ability to find gaps with utmost ease and clear the ropes at will.
Earlier this year, De Villiers failed to tick the score-sheets in three consecutive innings, being unable to score in the third innings of the Johannesburg Test, and following it up with a pair in the fourth Test at Centurion. He became the second South African captain to bag a pair in Tests.
Incidentally, De Villiers got out for a duck on four occasions during the 2007 World Cup.