The Waugh twins begin their successful journey into Test cricket

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05 Apr 2020 | 04:37 AM
authorPramod Ananth

The Waugh twins begin their successful journey into Test cricket

A look back on the day Steve and Mark Waugh became the first pair of twins to play together in men's Tests

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April 5, 1991 saw yet another unique instance in cricket when the world witnessed the Waugh twins – Steve and Mark – become the first set of male twins to play together in Test cricket. While there were many brothers in the past who had played together, twin brothers had never done so. However, seven years before the Waughs achieved this feat, it was Elizabeth Signal and Rosemary Signal, who became the first-ever twins to play for their country, when they represented New Zealand Women against England Women at Leeds.

Background

Before finally playing their first Test together, Steve had 42 Tests and Mark four Tests under their belt. However, they had appeared in 22 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) together. In fact, when Mark made his Test debut in January, 1991, he made it to the XI in place of his brother, who was dropped for poor form and smashed 138 against England at Adelaide. There were mixed emotions in the household when Steve announced that Mark was going to replace him in the team. 

The match

It was a crucial game in the context of the series as Australia were 1-0 down in the five-match series going into the third Test. They had thrashed West Indies 4-1 in the ODI series and needed to bounce back in the Test series. To do that, Australia had made a couple of changes – Bruce Reid came into the side in place of Mike Whitney, while Mark replaced Greg Matthews in the middle-order. 

Persistent rain kept the action to a bare minimum on the first two days. However, by the end of the third day, Mark had crafted a brilliant fifty and was unbeaten on 57 and had put on 58 for the sixth wicket with his brother, who managed just 26.

Mark toughed it out against a formidable bowling attack consisting of Curtly Ambrose, Patrick Patterson, Malcom Marshall and Courtney Walsh and scored a patient 181-ball 64 as Australia were bowled out for 294.

There wasn’t much time for a result when West Indies, led by a defiant 70 from Jeff Dujon were all out for 227. Only 53 overs were possible after that in which the Aussies managed 123 for 3 and the captains shook hands.

What followed

Australia lost the next Test at Bridgetown by 343 runs and Steve was dropped for the final Test at St Johns, in which Australia registered a consolation win.

The Waugh twins went on to play 108 Tests together, scoring more than 14,000 runs

They also played 214 ODIs together, which included winning the 1999 World Cup together under Steve’s captaincy

In March 2005, Hamish Marshall and his twin brother James of New Zealand became the first pair of identical twins to play a Test together – against Australia in Auckland. They went on to play a total of five Tests together.

Although not twins, in a Test match on September 18, 1997, Zimbabwe fielded three pairs of brothers against New Zealand in Harare, making it a first such instance.

Some of the other instances of brothers playing Tests together: 

Greg and Ian Chappell: Before the Waughs, Australia had two other brothers who were prolific run-getters. Two of Australia’s finest batsmen, Ian and Greg Chappell played as many as 43 Tests together, in which they scored 23 hundreds and 31 fifties between them. They also scored more than 7,000 runs between them when they played together. Interestingly, their grandfather Vic Richardson and their third brother Trevor played 19 and three Tests respectively.

Mohinder and Surinder Amarnath: The Amarnath brothers played eight Tests for India between 1976 and 1978 and scored 716 runs at 26.51 between them.

Andy and Grant Flower: Two crucial figures in Zimbabwe cricket played 61 Tests together for a decade between 1992 and 2002. They scored 7,980 runs at 40.30, slammed 18 tons and 41 fifties in the matches they played together. 

Shaun and Mitchell Marsh: Cricket runs in the Marsh household, with their father already having played 50 Tests and 117 ODIs. Incidentally, it was Geoff who handed both his sons their first Test cap – first to Shaun at Pallekele in 2011 and then to Mitchell in 2014 at Dubai. 

Shaun and Mitchell have played 17 Tests together between 2014 to 2018 in which they scored 1,808 runs at 30.64, which includes five fifties and five centuries. 

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