Top 3 Instances of Opposition Players Getting their 100th Test Cap

unnamed   2024 03 08T161144.719
Ashwin and Bairstow each have 100 Test matches in their portfolios

The closely contested 5-Test series between hosts India and England is nearing its conclusion in the next couple of days. The fifth and final Test, although a dead rubber with India securing the series 3-1, still carries significant weight for certain players aiming for personal milestones.

India’s Spin Maestro, Ravichandran Ashwin and England’s middle-order batter Jonny Bairstow, were both awarded their 100th Test Caps ahead of the fifth Test match at the iconic HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala on Thursday. Achieving a century of Test matches for their country is an arduous feat, with only 76 players before this duo managing to surpass the 100-match mark in the 146-year history of Test cricket.

This is an exceedingly rare occasion, as both Ashwin and Bairstow received their 100th Test caps on the same day, and in a match against each other, no less. Apart from this instance, such a coincidence has occurred only twice before, where two or more players from different teams reached their 100th Test match milestone while playing against each other.

Without further ado, let’s delve into instances where opposition players received their 100th Test Cap in the same match.

#1 Ravichandran Ashwin (India) and Jonny Bairstow (England)

Ravichandran Ashwin and Jonny Bairstow recently joined the exclusive club of players receiving their 100th Test cap simultaneously, marking the 77th and 78th individuals to achieve this milestone in Dharamsala.

Adding another jewel to his crown, Ashwin, who recently joined the illustrious 500 Test wickets club and now stands tall as the 14th player to represent India in a century of Test matches marking a truly special achievement in his illustrious career.

Bairstow became the 17th Englishman and the third from Yorkshire following the footsteps of Geoffrey Boycott and Joe Root, to reach the century mark in Test matches for England. Interestingly, the 34-year-old also celebrated his 100th ODI match at the same picturesque ground in Dharamsala.

Ashwin, widely regarded as one of the game’s greatest spinners, boasts an exceptional record in his previous 99 Test appearances. The bowling all-rounder has claimed 507 wickets at an impressive average of 23.92, with an economy rate of just 2.8 and a strike rate of 51.31, including 35 five-wicket hauls.

Notably, Ashwin has also proven his worth with the bat since his Test debut in 2011 against West Indies, amassing 3309 runs at an average of 26.47, including 14 half-centuries and 5 centuries.

Turning to Bairstow, who made his red-ball debut in 2012 against West Indies at Lord’s cricket ground, the wicketkeeper-batsman has amassed 5974 runs at an average of 36.43, including 26 half-centuries and 12 centuries.

On Day 1 of the Dharamsala Test, Ashwin picked up a 4-fer to dismiss the English lower order while the English middle-order batter contributed 29 runs off 18 balls in a flashy innings that included a couple of maximums and 2 fours.

#2 Michael Clarke (Australia) and Alastair Cook (England)

During the 2013-14 Ashes series, the notable milestone of playing 100 Test matches was achieved by both Michael Clarke, the World Cup-winning Captain of Australia, and the former England skipper Alastair Cook. Their entry into this exclusive list occurred in December 2013, amidst the third Test match at Perth.

However, Clarke’s performance during his 100th Test match was underwhelming. In the first innings, he managed to accumulate only 24 runs off 44 balls, and his contributions in the second innings were equally modest, scoring 23 runs off 53 balls.

Cook and Clarke ended their Test careers with 33 and 28 centuries, respectively

Contrastingly, England’s esteemed southpaw Test opener, Cook, made a notable contribution in the first innings, facing 153 balls and scoring 72 runs with the aid of 10 fours. However, in the second innings, when England faced a daunting target of 504 runs, Cook suffered an early dismissal, departing to the pavilion after registering a golden duck.

Clarke commenced his Test career in India in 2004 and concluded it in 2015 after playing 115 Tests. Cook also debuted in India in 2006 and featured in 161 Test matches before bidding farewell to the game following his last Test against India in 2018 at London’s Kennington Oval. Intriguingly, both Clarke and Cook marked their Test debuts with impressive centuries.

#3 Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock (South Africa) and Stephen Fleming (New Zealand)

In the Test match between hosts South Africa and New Zealand, a remarkable milestone was reached as three players stepped onto the turf for their 100th Test match together. Undoubtedly among the greatest all-rounders of all time, Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock marked their 100th Test appearance during the 1st Test match of New Zealand’s tour to South Africa at Centurion in April 2006.

In the same match, the captain of the opposing team, Stephen Fleming, also achieved this remarkable feat, becoming the first-ever New Zealand player to reach 100 Test matches. While Fleming made his Test debut in 1994, the Proteas’ duo received their Test debut caps the following year in 1995.

Kallis, Fleming, and Pollock ended their careers with 166, 111, and 108 Test matches, respectively

Reflecting on their performances in their 100th Test, Kallis faced a challenging start to the match, being dismissed for 38 and managing only one wicket in 9 overs bowled. However, he showcased his class in the latter half of the match, scoring a resilient 62 runs off 159 balls.

Pollock, the third South African player to cross the 100 Test matches mark, endured a below-average performance against the Blackcaps. Throughout the match, Pollock secured only 2 wickets in 20 overs and struggled to make significant contributions with the bat, scoring 24 and 10 runs in the first and second innings, respectively.

Meanwhile, Fleming faced disappointment in both innings, managing only 0 and 6 runs, which ultimately contributed to the Proteas’ victory by 128 runs.