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Mark Craig and other batsmen who smashed six off first ball faced in an innings

Mark Craig gave a glimpse of his batting skills by smashing the first ball he faced for a six
Mark Craig (center) gave a glimpse of his batting skills by smashing the first ball he faced for a six. Photo Courtesy: Black Caps Twitter Account

Apart from having an all-round excellent debut with the ball, Mark Craig achieved the unique feat of hitting the very first ball he faced in international cricket for a six. Shiamak Unwalla looks at some of the players who have hit sixes, while facing up to their first ball in Tests.

While it is not unheard of for batsmen to hit sixes in Test cricket, it is rather uncommon to see as many sixes hit in a Test match as there would be in a Twenty20 (T20). In a format, where there is usually enough time to settle in, most batsmen prefer to play conventional cricket.

However, every once in a while due to either the match situation, a rush of blood or supreme confidence, a batsman will look to go big right from the start. Below is a list of the innings in which a batsman has hit his first ball for a six. Bear in mind, these are innings where a batsman had hit the first ball he faced for six. If his first scoring shot was a six, it has not been counted.

Batsman Bowler
George Ulyett (England) Tom Garrett (Australia)
Tim Wall (Australia) Dick Tyldesley (England)
Foffie Williams*** (West Indies) Jim Laker (England)
Hines Johnson (West Indies) Bob Berry (England)
Frank King** (West Indies) Ron Archer (Australia)
Neil Adcock (South Africa) Johnnie Wardle (England)
Antao D’Souza (Pakistan) Len Coldwell (England)
Vanburn Holder (West Indies) Barry Knight (England)
John Jameson (England) Keith Boyce (West Indies)
Greg Chappell (Australia) David Steele (England)
Gus Logie (West Indies) Mohinder Amarnath (India)
Ian Botham (England) Craig McDermott (Australia)
Aravinda de Silva* (Sri Lanka) Kapil Dev (India)
Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) Phil Tuffnell (England)
Chris Cairns (New Zealand) Nehemiah Perry (West Indies)
Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) Shaun Pollock (South Africa)
Paul Wiseman (New Zealand) Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka)
Brian Lara (West Indies) Brett Lee (Australia)
Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) Irfan Pathan (India)
MS Dhoni (India) Pedro Collins (West Indies)
Greame Smith* (South Africa) Zaheer Khan (India)
Peter Fulton (New Zealand) Mohammad Ashraful (Bangladesh)
Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) Chris Martin (New Zealand)
Shakib Al Hasan (Bang) Pragyan Ojha (India)
Morne Morkel (South Africa) Daniel Vettori (New Zealand)
Zaheer Khan (India) Tim Southee (New Zealand)
Chris Gayle* (West Indies) Sohag Gazi (Bangladesh)
Sachin Tendulkar*** (India) Nathan Lyon (Australia)
Mark Craig (New Zealand) Suleiman Benn (West Indies)

*First ball of the innings. ( Chris Gayle’s was the first ball of the match, and the first ball bowled by Sohag Gazi in Test cricket.)

**Out next ball.

***Hit first two balls for six.

Data courtesy: Charlie Davis

The first recorded instance of a batsman hitting the first ball for a six was back in the nineteenth century when English batsman George Ulyett hit the Australian bowler Tom Garrett for a six. The latest instance of course, was Mark Craig taking on Suleiman Benn.

Rather strangely, among the 28 recorded instances, eight first-ball sixes have been scored against an English bowler. Conversely, West Indian batsmen have hit their first ball for a six on seven occasions. The full break-up of how many sixes teams have hit and how many the teams have conceded is given below:

Batsmen  Bowlers
West Indies – 7 England – 8
Sri Lanka – 5 Australia – 5
New Zealand – 4 India – 5
South Africa – 3 West Indies – 4
England – 3 New Zealand – 3
India – 3 Bangladesh – 2
Australia – 2 Sri Lanka – 1
Pakistan – 1 South Africa – 1
Bangladesh – 1

Zaheer Khan is the only player to make an appearance in both lists. He hit a six off Tim Southee, and was hit by Graeme Smith for a six earlier in his career.

Arguably the most shocking aspect of the table is that one batsman has hit three first-ball sixes in his career. In a table with names like Gayle, Sanath Jayasuriya, Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni, it boggles one’s mind that the batsman who features most often in the list is Sri Lankan spin wizard, Muttiah Muralitharan. Muralitharan has successfully hit first-ball sixes off Shaun Pollock, Irfan Pathan and Chris Martin. Move over Gayle and Dhoni. If you want to smash a six off the first ball you face, call Muralitharan!

(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)

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