THE ASHES – IN ENGLAND (AUGUST 2019)
Steve Smith’s power-packed return
The most awaited moment during the Ashes was the return of two Australian stalwarts, David Warner and Steve Smith. Though the former had a forgettable return, the later was immovable. In his return to Test cricket, Smith smashed twin centuries in Birmingham and followed it up by a 92 at Lord’s before being concussed. In his return at Old Trafford, he smashed a double in the first innings and then an 82. In the whole series, Smith amassed 774 runs in seven innings. This is the third most by an Australian in an away Ashes series after Don Bradman (974 in 1930) and Mark Taylor (839 in six Tests in 1989).
INDIA TOUR OF WEST INDIES (AUGUST 2019)
Virat Kohli goes past Dhoni
Wins home and away have resulted in Kohli becoming one of the most successful captains in India’s Test history. In the first Test, Kohli went past Sourav Ganguly’s away record of 11 wins and equalled his predecessor, MS Dhoni’s, tally of 27 wins. In the second Test, with a massive win of 257 runs, Kohli became the most successful captain for India with 28 wins.
SOUTH AFRICA AND BANGLADESH TOUR OF INDIA (OCT – NOV 2019)
India’s longest winning streak in Tests
Starting from the first match of the WTC cycle, India were undefeated. They had beaten West Indies 2-0, then beat South Africa at home 3-0 and followed it by another 2-0 drubbing against Bangladesh. This is India’s most consecutive winning streak in Tests. Prior to this in 2013, India had won six consecutive Tests.
India’s fourth consecutive victory by an innings
India won their first-ever day and night Test by an innings and 46 runs against Bangladesh in Kolkata. This was also their fourth consecutive match in which they had won by an innings. The first two were against South Africa, one in Pune and another in Ranchi. The next two were against Bangladesh, one in Indore and another in Kolkata. No other team has managed to achieve four consecutive victories by a margin of an innings in Tests.
NEW ZEALAND TOUR OF AUSTRALIA (DEC 2019 – JAN 2020)
Neil Wagner becomes the second quickest to 200
The workhorse among the New Zealand bowlers set a new benchmark in the 2nd Test at Melbourne in 2019. With the wicket of Smith in Australia’s 2nd innings, Wagner became the 2nd quickest to reach the milestone of 200 Test wickets among New Zealand bowlers. Wagner reached the landmark in 46 innings, only Sir Richard Hadlee had achieved it quicker than him (44).
Ross Taylor – New Zealand’s best
Already the leading run-scorer in ODI’s, Taylor became the all-time best for New Zealand in the longest format in the third Test. His 22 runs in the 2nd innings were enough for him to go past Stephen Fleming’s tally of 7172 runs. Now, Taylor has 7564 runs to his name with 19 centuries, the second-most century count among New Zealanders after Kane Williamson’s 24.
ENGLAND TOUR OF SOUTH AFRICA (DEC 2019 – JAN 2020)
Back-to-back series loss at home after seven decades
In the WTC cycle matches before the pandemic, South Africa were tottering. They had played seven matches and had lost six, including a series loss against England at home. Prior to the England series, and before the WTC cycle, they had lost both the matches at home against Sri Lanka, making it two series loss on the trot at home. The last time they lost two home series on the bounce was in 1949-50, nearly 70 years back.
SRI LANKA TOUR OF PAKISTAN (DECEMBER 2019)
Abid Ali aesthetical debut
Before making his Test debut, Abid Ali made his ODI debut in March 2019 against Australia and was off to a dreamy start by scoring a century. In his Test debut as well, he got the perfect start. In the first Test of the series, he scored a century against Sri Lanka and became the first batsmen in history to register a century on both ODI and Test debut. He scored 112 against Australia in his ODI debut and 109 against Sri Lanka.
Top four batsmen scoring a century
A batting collapse in the first innings of the second Test saw Pakistan post only 191. But, the reply was too strong for Sri Lanka in the second innings. Pakistan posted a mammoth total of 555 for the loss of only three wickets. All the top four batsmen registered a century in that innings. This was only the second instance of a teams’ top four registering centuries. Indian top four batsmen against Bangladesh in 2007 in Dhaka achieved this feat first.
Second youngest bowler to a five-for
Naseem Shah made his debut at the age of 16 years and 279 days, the sixth youngest for Pakistan and ninth overall. He made his debut on the fast track of Brisbane in 2019 and troubled the likes of David Warner in the only match he played that series. In his first home series against Sri Lanka, Naseem bagged his first five-for in the second innings of the second Test match. He picked up his fifth five-wicket haul at 16 years and 307 days, the second youngest bowler to achieve the feat. Nasim-ul-Ghani in 1958 was 16 years and 303 days when he bagged five wickets against West Indies in Georgetown
BANGLADESH TOUR OF PAKISTAN (FEBRUARY 2020)
Naseem Shah bags a hat-trick at 16
Making a debut at the age of 16 itself is a great achievement and bagging a hat-trick at that age is icing on the cake. With the wicket of Najmul Hossain Shanto, Taijul Islam and Mahmudullah in the 41st over, Naseem became the youngest – 16 years and 359 days – bowler to bag a hat-trick in Tests. Previously, Alok Kapali for Bangladesh against Pakistan in 2003 held the record at 19 years and 240 days when he picked up Shabbir Ahmed, Danish Kaneria and Umar Gul in Peshawar.