On October 4, 1998, Australia’s Ian Healy surpassed his countryman Rod Marsh’s tally of 355 dismissals behind the stumps. Prakash Govindasreenivasan revisits the Test match between Australia and Pakistan played at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in 1998 when Healy achieved this feat.
Ian Healy was one of the best wicketkeepers to emerge from Australia. His ability to judge the turn and bounce of the ball while keeping to spinners made him one of the most admired glovemen in the world. Fittingly, his record-breaking 356 dismissals behind the stumps came via a wonderfully-judged reflex catch he took off the bowling of Colin Miller to dismiss Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram.
With this take, he surpassed countryman Rodney Marsh’s tally of 355 dismissals. Healy took a few extra Tests than Marsh to get to the feat and achieved it in his 104th game as opposed to the former who needed just 94 Tests for his tally.
Healy’s watchful eyes and impeccable reflexes helped him form a great partnership with Shane Warne for a brief period before Adam Gilchrist walked into the Test side in 1999 and took over from Healy.
Healy’s record stayed intact for as many as nine years before Mark Boucher broke it in 2007 against Pakistan in Karachi. Although Gilchrist managed to usurp Boucher’s numbers, Boucher finished on top on the virtue of playing even after Gilchrist had announced his retirement.
List of the most successful wicketkeepers at the end of the Test between Pakistan and Australia in 1998:
In this Test, Pakistan succumbed to their first innings defeat on home soil since 1986-87 when they lost to the West Indies. Healy completed three catches in the course of the game and made a valuable contribution with the bat (82) while Steve Waugh (157), Michael Slater (108), Darren Lehmann (98) led the charge to amass a first innings total in excess of 500.
When the Pakistan openers came out to bat in the second essay, they needed to score 244 to avoid a dreadful innings defeat. The Australian bowlers were ruthless and skittled out the hosts for 145. Stuart MacGill’s four-wicket haul (four for 47) coupled with equal contributions from Glenn McGrath (two for 24), Damien Fleming (two for 38), Colin Miller (two for 30) led to a massive win for the visitors.
Healy went on to add 35 more catches and four more stumpings to his tally after this game. When he called time on his 11-year-long career in 1999, Healy had forced 395 dismissals behind the stumps — 366 catches and 29 stumpings — in 119 Tests before announcing his retirement.
Pakistan 269 (Saeed Anwar 145, Moin Khan 39; Stuart MacGill 5 for 66) and 145 (Saleem Malik 52*; Stuart MacGill 4 for 47) lost to Australia 513 (Steve Waugh 157, Michael Slater 108, Darren Lehmann 98, Ian Healy 82; Wasim Akram 3 for 111) by an innings and 99 runs.
Man of the Match: Steve Waugh
(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is a reporter with CricketCountry. His Twitter handle is @PrakashG_89)