5 instances when a batsman stood not out on 99

Misbah-ul-Haq ran out of partners and was one short of a century
Chaitanya Halgekar

Misbah-ul-Haq fell agonisingly short of his 11th Test century as he stood unbeaten on 99, during the 1st Test between Pakistan and West Indies.

The pain of getting out on 99 is too much for any batsman but staying not out on 99 is even more frustrating, but there have been only six such incidents in Test cricket so far.

On account of Misbah’s score, let us relive the other five instances in Test cricket when a batsmen missed on a hundred after coming so close.

#1 Geoffrey Boycott vs Australia, Perth 1979

Boycott stood tall and batted through the innings

The first incident of a batsman remaining 99 not out occurred during the first Test of England’s tour of Australia in 1979.

England were chasing a daunting target of 354 runs in the fourth innings when Geoff Dymock wrecked their batting line-up by picking up six wickets. But Geoffrey Boycott stood solid at one end and pushed England towards an impossible draw.

However little support from the rest of the team meant that England’s defeat became certain, but fans expected Boycott to at least complete his century. But the last three wickets fell for just four runs and the right-hander was left stranded at the non-striker's end with his score at 99.

#2 Steve Waugh vs England, Perth 1995

Waugh ran out of partners after his non-striker was run out by his brother, Mark

The second such instance happened in the final Test of 1995 Ashes Series in Australia, and the venue again was Perth.

In the first innings, Michael’s Slater’s 124 set the tone for Australia’s dominant batting display. Steve Waugh cashed in on the solid start and pushed the score to 400. As he neared his century, Glenn McGrath was run out and out came the injured No. 11 batsman, Craig McDermott.

Mark Waugh, who earlier had scored 88 runs, joined Steve as the runner for the injured McDermott. When Steve was on 99, Mark pushed for an improbable single and was halfway down the pitch before his brother sent him back.

Mark was run out by a narrow margin, and Steve recalled this run-out incident in his autobiography as ‘death by a centimetre’.

Australia won the Test by a thumping margin of 329 runs courtesy of Greg Blewett's 115 in the third innings and McDermott's six-wicket haul on the final day.

#3 Alex Tudor vs New Zealand, Birmingham 1999

Tudor came into bat as England’s nightwatchman

Alex Tudor became the third batsman to stay unbeaten on 99 during the 1st Test between England and New Zealand in 1999. 21 wickets fell on the second day of the match and with a tricky target of 208 to score, Nasser Hussain sent the fast bowler, Tudor out to bat as the night watchman.

The fast bowler not only survived the second day but also came back the next morning to anchor England’s successful chase.

Scoring at a brisk pace, Tudor stitched two important partnerships for the second and third wicket. When the target and Tudor’s maiden century inched closer, Graham Thorpe scored three quick boundaries depriving Tudor of triple figures.

When England needed four runs to win, Tudor was on 95. He swung hard at the ball, hoping to dispatch it for a six but unfortunately, the ball top-edged for a four and ended the night watchman’s brave effort at 99 not out.

Tudor ended his Test batting career with an average of 19.08 and this inning was his only special moment with the bat.

#4 Shaun Pollock vs Sri Lanka, Centurion 2002

Pollock batted well in both innings of the match

During the second Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka in 2002, Shaun Pollock became the fourth batsman to join this rare club. In reply to Sri Lanka’s first innings score of 323, South Africa were nine for 408 when Makhaya Ntini joined Pollock at the crease.

Pollock at that point was playing on 69 and given Ntini's reputation as a batsman, very few would have expected the former to reach a hundred.

But, in this innings, Ntini showed solid resistance against Lankan bowlers, while Pollock at the other end scored quickly. With Ntini batting with confidence, he took a single on the first ball of Chaminda Vaas’ over to move on to 99. Ntini, who only had to survive the remaining five balls, went for a wild slog that ended in the hands of a Sri Lankan fielder.

Pollock was in dismay and had to leave the pitch with his score at 99. He stood not out in the second innings as well, completing the tricky chase of 121 runs and taking his team to victory by three wickets.

#5 Andrew Hall vs England at Headingley, 2003

Hall’s half-century helped South Africa in getting a comfortable lead

During the fourth Test between South Africa and England in 2003, Andrew Hall finished one run short of a hundred. In the third innings of the match, he came to the crease after the fall of the sixth wicket, and his team were ahead by 254 runs, but the contest was wide open.

England's plans of cleaning up the tail were shattered by Hall's tremendous counter-attack. Hall, who had two golden ducks in his past two innings, added quick and vital runs without much support from other batsmen.

He was on 99 when the last batsman, Dewald Pretorius, was clean bowled off Kirtley’s bowling. Hall walked back with an individual score of 99 from 87 balls and a smile on face, hiding behind his disappointment but knowing very well that his career was safe and the game was in South Africa's pocket.

Chasing 401 in the fourth innings, England perished for 209, with Jacques Kallis picking up six wickets.

Edited by Staff Editor


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