ENTERTAINMENT  :   Cricketing Gems

When Misbah Ul Haq stormed into the record books

Saturday , 13 February 2016

One would have thought that a batsman like David Warner or AB de Villiers would be the right candidate to equal or better Sir Vivian Richards’ record for the fastest test century. It was, however, Misbah Ul Haq of Pakistan, who accomplished the feat, against Australia in the Abu Dhabi test match, played in November 2014

Misbah Ul Haq smashed his way to an outstanding ton in just 56 deliveries in 2014. Pic/espncricinfo

As the proverbial saying goes: “records are made to be broken” (or in this case, matched). This is exactly what happened in November of 2014, at Abu Dhabi, UAE. The test cricket record for the fastest century, held for almost three decades by Sir Vivian Richards, was equalled by a batsman, who was, all along, known to be a grafter and a prodder and not really the one, who liked to smash the ball to all parts of the park.

Misbah Ul Haq, the then 40-year-old Pakistani captain surprised cricket pundits, peers and fans alike, by smashing first, the fastest 50 in test cricket and then, equalling the record of King Richard’s 56-ball test hundred.

It was only a few weeks ago that Misbah had dropped himself from the Pakistani ODI team citing poor form, as a reason. However, returning at the helm of the team for the test series, he simply found himself in a different zone. Misbah rediscovered his form, after a string of low scores, by hitting a respectable 69 in the first innings of the first test against the Aussies. He was not required to bat in the second innings, since his teammates, Ahmad Shahzad and Younus Khan both scored centuries, enabling the Pakistanis to declare at 286 for 2. This allowed the Pakistani captain to set a huge target of 437, for the Aussies, who failed to achieve it, thus, conceding the match to Pakistan by a big margin of 221 runs.

Brimming with confidence, the Pakistanis under Misbah took the field in Abu Dhabi to play the second and the final Test against the Aussies. While Younus Khan was creating history on the other end, Misbah played a stylish 101-run knock in the first innings, at a brisk strike rate of 60.11. Pakistan declared their first innings at 570 for 6.

It was in the second innings, however, that he set a packed stadium on fire. Taking to the crease at his usual no. 5 position, Misbah set the tone for this historic innings, straightaway. Barely minutes in to the innings, he smashed Smith for 3 sixes and a 4 in an over, setting the tone for the rest of his stay at the crease.

First, he went on to break Jacques Kallis’ record for the fastest half century in test cricket. While the South African legend had reached the landmark against Zimbabwe in 24 balls, Misbah raced to his 50, in only 21 deliveries. A record that still stands.

Batting aggressively against a demoralised and fatigued Australian attack, he then went on to smash a 56-ball hundred, equalling Sir Vivian Richards’ record of the fastest century ever scored in test cricket. Misbah, in this single innings, has entered the record books as a batsman who has scored the fastest fifty and has equalled the world record for the fastest hundred as well, in the longer and the more prestigious format of the game.

Considering that Misbah Ul Haq was then a 40-year old, the feat achieved by him, assumes much greater significance.

In a test career spanning 61 matches, he averaged close to 50 (48.39) per innings, and has 9 centuries and 32 half centuries under his belt. What is even more creditable is the fact that under his captaincy, Pakistan had achieved a test ranking of No. 3.

TGI salutes this underrated cricketer, who has always played the game professionally and like a true gentleman.

Fastest centuries scored in all three formats of the game

With Misbah Ul Haq having stormed himself into the record books in 2014, we thought it will be a good idea to bring to our readers, updated information on the fastest centuries scored in all three formats of the game.

While the top spot in test cricket is now shared jointly between Misbah Ul Haq and Sir Vivian Richards, Gilchrist and Gregory, continue to occupy the second and third spots. The former achieving it in just 57 deliveries, and the latter in only 67 balls.

In the ODI and T-20 formats, the records are currently held by two South Africans. The fastest ton in the former format of the game is credited to AB de Villiers, who smashed it in 31 deliveries, while in the T-20s, it is held by Richard Levi of South Africa. He achieved the feat by hitting a 45-ball century.

“Records are made to be broken” as the cliché goes. Therefore, don’t be surprised if one of these are broken sooner than you expected… especially in the T-20 format.