Home > Features > Moments in history >

Mushtaq Mohammad’s hundred at 17 years and 78 days — then the youngest ever in Tests

Mushtaq Mohammad’s hundred on debut at 17 years and 78 days — then the youngest ever in Tests

Mushtaq Mohammad batted with utmost bravado, playing all his strokes, and eventually reached that magic figure © Getty Images

On February 12, 1961, Pakistan’s Mushtaq Mohammad became the youngest centurion in Test cricket — at 17 years and 78 days. Abhishek Mukherjee revisits the day of the record that stood strong for 40 years.

India and Pakistan had played out 11 drawn Tests on the trot, and with the series drawn at 0-0 after four Tests, little was expected on the otherwise placid Delhi track. India had left out Baloo Gupte to make way for the young debutant Vaman Kumar – an extremely talented spinner who would later get lost in the furious spin competition of the 1960s and 1970s.

Nari Contractor won the toss and had no hesitation in batting. A significant amount of time was lost on the first day, and India reached 164 for 2. They were finally bowled out for a healthy 463: Polly Umrigar scored an emphatic hundred, and despite he was injured on the second day, he came back later in the day to score a polished 92. Rusi Surti and Chandu Borde also made merry, not holding back their shots, and despite some relentless bowling from Mahmood Hussain and captain Fazal Mahmood, the Indians managed to put up a decent score.

In response, Ramakant Desai got the prized scalp of Hanif Mohammad before he could settle down; with Bapu Nadkarni bowling at his miserly best and Kumar attacking from the other end, Pakistan were soon reeling at 89 for four. It was then that Mushtaq Mohammad –  the youngest debutant ever who had played only five Tests till date, and also the younger brother of the legendary Hanif – walked out to join another rookie, Javed Burki.

The Pakistani duo held on. Desai, who had managed to give a tough time to sterner opponents, bowled on tirelessly, often testing the batsmen with bouncers; Nadkarni persisted with his infamous accuracy, not giving an inch away, the pressure mounted on the batsmen as runs were scarce to come by; and the debutant Kumar, who had a deceptive googly to go with his stock delivery, kept on attacking, over after over.

The kids fought back. They cut down their strokes, and kept on blocking the deliveries or let them go; the aggressive instincts were curbed, and slowly, with time, they found their groove. Contractor kept on rotating his bowlers, but he could not separate the pair: they ended the third day at 160 for 4, Burki on 42 and Mushtaq on 38.

The match was far from over, though. Desai, fresh from a night’s sleep, ran in with the aggression that so defined him – and yet has generally been elusive for the average Indian fast bowler. Kumar showed how versatile he could be, using his wrist to effect the maximum possible turn – and often reverting to the googly. Nadkarni was persistent with his robotic accuracy, not willing to give an inch away.

However, both batsmen scored fifties, and looked set for more. After the initial stages, Mushtaq opened up and began to play his strokes; he went past Burki. The score crossed 200. Contractor tried Borde, and even Umrigar – but to no avail. And then, just when things looked to be all over, Desai managed to remove Burki for 61, and Pakistan were 225 for five. And almost immediately, Kumar clean bowled Intikhab Alam.

The 150-run margin to save the follow-on still seemed distant, but Mushtaq carried on, with Fazal for company. Not only did he was solid in his defense, he also ensured that the runs kept coming. As he approached his hundred, everyone realised that Giff Vivian’s world record of scoring a hundred at an age of 19 years 121 days might be broken – that too by a massive margin.

As Mushtaq reached his 90s, Fazal used all his experience to calm down the teenager; the Delhi crowd, also realising that they were on the verge of witnessing history, began applauding in anticipation.

And then it happened: the kid, at the age of 17 years 78 days (on the day when the Test started), he etched his name in the annals of the sport; even under pressure, he had not buckled down – he batted with utmost bravado, playing all his strokes, and eventually reaching that magic figure.

He soon fell to Desai, and Pakistan, bowled out for 286, had to follow-on. Desai had picked up four and Kumar five, and Nadkarni finished with figures of 34-24-24-1. Batting again, Hanif and Imtiaz Ahmed put on 83, but the trio of Indian bowlers kept on taking wickets, and Pakistan were soon reduced to 212 for nine, only 35 ahead.

But then, Mahmood Hussain and Mohammad Farooq held fort, batted dourly to add 38. Desai returned figures of four for 88 (match figures of eight for 190) and Kumar two for 68 (seven for 132 in the match). And the relentless Nadkarni added 52.4-38-43-4 to finish with 86.4-62-67-5 in the Test.

Though India required only 74 to win, they had run out of time. It was yet another draw, though the Indians had dominated almost all of five days.

Twenty-nine years later, an Indian kid attempted to break Mushtaq’s record, and ended the day with 80 to his name. However, he hit the ball straight to his future coach the next morning, and got out for 88, breaking a billion hearts. When Sachin Tendulkar ultimately scored a Test hundred, he had missed Mushtaq’s record by 29 days.

It took Mohammad Ashraful to break the world record by a margin of 17 days – when he scored another hundred, coming out with his side trailing by 465 and down at 81 for four in the second innings. The record had stood for 40 days.

But that is another story.

Brief scores:

India 463 (Polly Umrigar 112, Nari Contractor 92, Rusi Surti 64) and 16 for no loss drew with Pakistan 286 (Mushtaq Mohammad 101, Javed Burki 61, Vaman Kumar 5 for 64, Ramakant Desai 4 for 102) and 250 (Imtiaz Ahmed 53; Bapu Nadkarni 4 for 43, Ramakant Desai 4 for 88).

(A hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobiac by his own admission, Abhishek Mukherjee is a statistical analyst based in Kolkata, India. He typically looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – not necessarily as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the game with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a rather steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers the sport has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks and googlies in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in)

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

West Indies tour of India 2014, Practice match

Oct 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Mumbai

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Brisbane

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Barbados won by 6 wkts (D/L method)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Perth Scorchers won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 29, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 36 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

Photos

KKR vs Dolphins, CLT20 2014

Videos

Arjuna Ranatunga shares his views on U-19 cricket

Jasprit Bumrah: Sachin Tendulkar giving me my debut cap was my most memorable moment with Mumbai Indians

Sachin Tendulkar fans turn Durga Puja pandal into cricket stadium

Pakistan players would be allowed in IPL soon, hopes Shahryar Khan

Nawaz Sharif’s only First-Class appearance

Ernie Jones — the man who sent a ball through the beard of WG Grace

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Barbados Tridents Cape Cobras Champions League T20 2014 CLT20 CLT20 2014 Dolphins India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab KKR vs Dolphins Kolkata Knight Riders

Afghanistan invites top cricketing nations to play cricket at their backyard

High Court forms selection committees for Rajasthan cricketers

Rohit Sharma ruled out of India-West Indies ODI series

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should appoint Virat Kohli as Test captain: Mohammad Azharuddin

CLT20 2014: Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will look to maintain consistency against Chennai Super Kings says George Bailey

Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings, 2nd Semifinal, CLT20 2014: CSK likely XI

Gandhi Jayanti: Mahatma Gandhi’s cricket connections and an XI

Jayasinghrao “Mamasaheb” Ghorpade: Royal connections, loyal to Baroda

Hedley Verity’s ‘lucky escape’ during the Bodyline series

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) vs Chennai Super Kings (CSK), 2nd Semifinal, CLT20 2014: KXIP likely XI

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

671 Posts | 6 Fans

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab- Final Match Highlights from IPL 2014

Leaked: Mrunal Jain goes semi nude – view pic!

6 changes that take place in your breasts during pregnancy

Why a steady heartbeat is bad for you

Ontario Reports Lower Budget Deficit

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to launch in India on October 10

Research Breakthrough Offers Huge Benefits To Diabetics

Alia Bhatt goofs-up again, unaware of Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan’s resignation!

Windows 10 Technical Preview now available, here’s how to download it

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here