Test cricket is the ultimate form of the game for several professionals. It is the Test of patience, strategies, resilience and many other factors, where the team which plays better cricket over the five days comes out triumphant.
Therefore, it is a matter of utmost importance that the team fields a formidable batting lineup to withstand the sustained pressure.
Usually, the best batsman forms the top six in the lineup followed by the wicket-keeper and the bowlers. However, batting is not a stronger suit for specialist spinners and seamers; therefore, they are tagged as the ‘tailenders’.
As a part of strategy, to protect the best batsmen in the team, the think-tank and management often send these tailenders as nightwatchmen.
Today, let’s look at the five instances when a tailender went to open the batting for their team:
1. Jack Leach against Sri Lanka
During the2019 Test series between England and Sri Lanka, the second innings of the second Test marked one of the instances when a tailender walked in to take guard at the opening slot.
Jack Leach partnered Rory Burns instead of Keaton Jennings on the final session of Day 2 to play out one over left in the day. Leach was dismissed on one by Dilruwan Perera.
2. Iqbal Siddique against England
On December 2001, Maharashtra fast bowler Iqbal Siddique took strike as an opener against England in the Mohali Test. With five needed to win, the then Indian captain Sourav Ganguly sent Siddique with Deep Dasgupta in the second innings of the Test match.
3. Danny Morrison vs India
Tailender Danny Morrison, during India’s tour of New Zealand in 1990, walked in to face the brand new ball. New Zealand needed just two runs to win the Test match. He remained unbeaten on 1.
4. Martin Snedden vs India
Pairing up with Morrison was another tailender, Martin Snedden. The fast bowler scored three in the first innings before falling victim to Kapil Dev, who caught him in front of his stumps. It was the third and fourth occasion when a tailender walked in as an opener.
5. Azeem Hafeez vs India
Fast bowler Azeem Hafeez debuted for Pakistan during their tour in 1983/84. In the Nagpur Test, Pakistan number 11 walked in as an opener. Hafeez ended up playing 18 Tests and picked up 63 scalps along with four five-wicket hauls.