Steven Smith’s twin hundreds in the first Ashes 2019 Test have grabbed the headlines for the last few days and for the right reasons. His hundred on the first day of the Test was instrumental in helping Australia recover from a disastrous 122 for 8 to put up 284 on the board.
In their second innings, he took it to a different level when Australia faced a substantial deficit of 90 runs which they had to overcome before they were to set a target for the hosts. Those were two knocks played under tremendous pressure in terms of the match situation and on a personal note as well.
Along the way, he also became the fifth Australian - eighth, overall - to score centuries in both innings of an Ashes Test. Here's a look at seven instances when this milestone was achieved in the past.
#1 Warren Bardsley (Australia): 136 and 130, Oval, 5th Test (9th to 11th August 1909)
Warren “Curly” Bardsley was a left-handed opening batsman from New South Wales, Australia. He made his debut in during the 1909 Ashes in England and his first eight innings yielded just 130 runs, with an average of 16.
However, on a perfect batting track at Oval on the first day of the final Test match, he came good with a splendid knock of 136. The highlight of the innings was his partnership (118) with Victor Trumper, who made 73 and helped Australia to recover from 58 for 4.
After England took a lead of 27 runs in the 1st innings, Bardsley again had to bat on the second day evening and was not out on 33 by the end of the day. In what turned out to be a three-day Test match, on the last day of the match, Bardsley batted beautifully to complete his second hundred of the match, an unprecedented feat in Test matches till then. The match ended in a draw.
On the back of his top show, Bardsley was named Widen Cricketer of the year, 1910.
#2 Herbert Sutcliffe (England): 176 and 127, MCG, 5th Test (1st to 8th January 1925)
The England and Yorkshire legend and opening batsman Herbert Sutcliffe had a great Australian tour in the 1924/25 Ashes series. He notched up four centuries and ended the tour with 734 runs, at an average of 81.55. Although England lost the series 1-4, his performance stood out.
In a timeless Test match at Melbourne Cricket ground (second Test match of the series), Sutcliffe equaled Bardsley’s record by scoring centuries in both the innings of the match. On the third day of the match, after Australia scored 600 in their 1st innings, Sutcliffe batted the entire day along with Sir Jack Hobbs as England ended the day on 283 for no loss.
On the final day, England were left with a tough ask of scoring 372 to win the match and Sutcliffe fought almost single-handedly. His partnership with Frank Wooley (50) took England to 211 for 3 at one stage and threatened to score a most unlikely victory.
However, after Wooley’s departure, he had little support and when he finally departed on 127, with England on 280 for 7, the match was all but over for them. However, it was very clear that it was only Sutcliffe’s brilliance which took the match to the seventh day.
Sutcliffe is one of the six batsmen in the Test history (20 innings or more) who have averaged more than 60.
#3 Walter Hammond (England): 119* and 177, Adelaide Oval, 4th Test (1st to 8th February 1929)
One of the best batsmen of all time, Wally Hammond of Gloucestershire had unprecedented success in 1928/29 Ashes series in Australia. It was also the debut series for the young Don Bradman. England won the series by a 4-1 margin and Hammond scored 905 runs, with an average of 113.12. At that time, it was the highest series aggregate in history and has been surpassed only by Sir Don Bradman.
In the 4th Test of the series at Adelaide Oval, with England already ahead 3-0, Hammond continued his great form of the tour. In the first innings, after Hobbs and Sutcliffe gave them a great start with a 143-run opening partnership, England lost their way by losing wickets at regular intervals. Hammond fought the lone battle and remained not out on 119. Driving splendidly, he had scored 72 of the last 88 runs scored by England.
In the second innings, Hammond probably played his best knock of the series. Along with Douglas Jardine (98), he added 262 runs in a then world-record partnership for the third wicket. He was 7th man out on 177, out of the team’s score of 327.
The timeless match went into the 7th day with Australia chasing 349 runs for the victory. The match tilted to England’s favor when Don Bradman was run-out on 58 by a brilliant piece of fielding from Jack Hobbs. England won the epic contest by just 12 runs.
#4, #5 Denis Compton (England): 147 and 103*, Arthur Morris (Australia) 122 and 124*, Adelaide Oval, 4th Test (31st January to 6th February 1947)
This was a six-day Test match and was played in very hot and humid conditions, with the temperatures soaring up continuously. Denis Compton and Arthur Morris achieved a unique feat when both scored two centuries in the same match. In England’s 1st innings, Compton played his finest innings of that series. In an innings spanning almost 5 hours, he scored 147.
In response to England’s 1st innings total of 460, Australia were initially in trouble, after losing two quick wickets (including Sir Don being bowled by Alec Bedser for a duck, a rare failure for the great man). However, they were rescued by the second Test century from Morris. Driving delightfully, Morris scored 122 and showed promise of many more to come.
In England’s second innings, trailing Australia by 27 runs, they were in serious trouble on the penultimate day. An 85-run partnership between Compton and the wicket-keeper Godfrey Evans saved the day for them. Compton played gallantly to remain not out on 103 and helped England to set up a near-impossible target of 314 runs to Australia on the last day.
There was enough time for Arthur Morris though to score his second hundred of the match. He became the second Australian to hit two centuries in a Test match against England, emulating Warren Bradley, another left-handed opener from Australia.
#6 Steve Waugh (Australia) 108 and 116, Manchester, 4th Test (3rd January to 7th July 1997)
There was a wait for another 50 years before someone scored a twin century in Ashes Test. Australia found themselves in an unfamiliar situation, being 0-1 down in an Ashes series after a long gap.
On top of that, Australia decided to bat first after the winning the toss on a difficult wicket and it was only due to the heroic effort of Steve Waugh that Australia could reach 235, from a position of 160 for 7. Waugh would later label this to be his finest Test innings.
In the second innings, after Shane Warne conjured his magic (6 for 48) to give Australia a first-innings lead, Waugh had to pick-up battle again, as Australia slipped to 132 for 5. With a badly bruised right hand as he was wincing in pain, Waugh fought like a warrior for six hours to take Australia to a winning position. England lost by a massive margin of 268 runs on the final day as Waugh was lauded for his fine show.
#7 Matthew Hayden (Australia) 197 and 103, Brisbane, 1st Test (7th November to 10th November 2002)
The match will be remembered for one of the costliest mistakes by a captain. After winning the toss, Nasser Hussain sent Australia to bat first and on a belter of a pitch, Australia scored 364 for 2 on the 1st day. Matthew Hayden marched towards a brilliant 186 not out by end of the day.
England were also batted out of the game by the southpaw and they did not help their cause by dropping Hayden four times. Hayden was finally dismissed just three runs short of his double-hundred on the second day morning.
In the second innings, although Australia lost a couple of quick wickets, Hayden continued his imperious form, slamming 60 in as many balls at one stage. His innings of 103, continuing his remarkable run in Test Cricket, helped Australia set up a huge target of 464 for England. McGrath and Warne finished off the match by bowling England out for just 79 runs in 28.2 overs.
Also read – Ashes Winners List