Four instances where a captain asked every member of the playing XI to bowl

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  • The first time every player of a side bowled was during the Australian tour of England in 1884.

  • The most recent instance dates back to the 2005 South African tour of West Indies.

Four instances where a captain asked every member of the playing XI to bowl
AB de Villiers, Anil Kumble, Geoff Dymock ( Image Source: Twitter)

Cricket is an unpredictable game. There are unique tactics used by the contenders now and then. One such peculiar incident occurred four times in Test matches when a skipper put his whole team to bowl out the opposition.

Here are those four matches:

Third Test of Australia’s tour of England 1884

Australian team ( Image Source: Twitter)

1884 was the first English season to feature more than a single Test match. Widely regarded as the first Ashes tour after the publication of the ‘ashes’ obituary, England led 1-0 in the series ahead of the Test at Oval.

The Test is famous for three historical events. Opting to bat first, Australia put up a mammoth 551 runs on board, assisted by a crafty double hundred by their skipper Billy Murdoch– the first double century in Test cricket.

However, the Test later came to recognized for another unusual occurrence as the English used all their eleven players to bowl against the mighty Aussies.

This was the first time in Test cricket that an entire team, including the wicket-keeper, had to roll their arms.

In response, England persisted hard but could only mount 346 runs on board and were asked to follow on by the opponents.

In their second innings, England made 85 within 26 overs as the contest ended in a draw.

The third record that belongs to this game is the highest Test total (551) by a side without a bowler conceding 100 runs.

Second Test of Australia’s tour of Pakistan 1980

Geoffry Dymock ( Image Source: Twitter)

The second instance of the bizarre event happened when Australia toured Pakistan in 1980.

Opting to bat first on a belter pitch, Aussies thrashed the home side as they piled 617 runs on board. The chief architects of such an improbable inning were the then-skipper Greg Chappell (235) and Graham Yallop (172).

However, the other Down Under batters couldn’t chip much as Tauseef Ahmed, and Wasim Raja scalped three wickets each.

The game was titled towards the Chappell and his team until opener Taslim Arif (210) and skipper Javed Miandad (106) stuck to the crease to steady their inning.

Chappell had difficulty rotating his bowlers and ultimately asked all the eleven men to have a try at bowling.

Even after so many efforts, it was Geoff Dymock who bagged a solitary wicket for the visitors as the game ended without a decisive result.

Fourth Test of India’s tour of West Indies 2002

Indian team ( Image Source: Twitter)

The next instance occurred in the fourth Test of India’s tour of West Indies in 2002.

Put in to bat first, India’s opener Wasim Jaffer (86) and middle-order batsman Rahul Dravid (91) shared a 155-run stand before Jaffer was sent back to the pavilion by Pedro Collins.

VVS Laxman (130) and Ajay Ratra (115) hammered the West Indies bowlers as the visitors put up a staggering 513/9 on board before declaring their inning.

The Windies’ batsmen were seen lagging as the top four- Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Brian Lara– failed to leave a mark on the scoreboard.

However, Carl Hooper (136) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (136) did the much-needed repair work, and the Indians had to sweat it out for intermittent breakthroughs.

The Caribbean side assaulted the subcontinent bowlers, who had to wager a tumultuous battle before Ganguly ascribed his whole team to bowl.

In the end, West Indies too declared their innings at 629/9 as the encounter ended in a draw.

Fourth Test of South Africa tour of West Indies 2005

South African team ( Image Source: Twitter)

The latest instance of all the 11 players rolling arms for their side happened in 2005 when South Africa toured West Indies.

Opting to bat first, AB de Villiers, Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis and Ashwell Prince scored classy centuries, which meant that the pitch at St. John’s was a batters paradise. The Proteas put up an imposing 588/6 on board before declaring their innings.

On the other hand, West Indies too took full advantage of the opportunity. Ramnaresh Sarwan (127), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (127) and Dwayne Bravo (107) bore the onus as they scored their respective tons.

However, it was the Windies’ star Chris Gayle who panned all eyes. Dubbed as the ‘Universe Boss’ by his fans, Gayle proved his mettle as he carried an onslaught against the complacent South African bowling.

Gayle pummeled the Africans by scoring a scintillating triple century (317) as his side scored a towering 747 prior to bundling out.

Smith had to put his whole team at the task and asked his playing XI, including his wicket-keeper Mark Boucher, to give a try to bowling.

The game ended in a draw as Graeme Smith and Co. had to bat again with only 31 overs left for the match.

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CATEGORY: Australia, England, India, South Africa

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Ritvan is an avid cricket fan who loves watching and playing cricket. Cricket is not only his favourite sport but also his passion. You can write to him at and follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.