5 of the Greatest Hat-Tricks in Test Cricket

Rob Lancaster@RobLancs79Featured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2015

5 of the Greatest Hat-Tricks in Test Cricket

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    Hamish Blair/Getty Images

    On Jan. 2, 1879, Frederick Spofforth claimed the first hat-trick in Test history.

    The Australian—who was nicknamed The Demon Bowler—dismissed the England trio of The Reverend Vernon Royle, Francis MacKinnon and Thomas Emmett with successive deliveries on the opening day at Melbourne.

    Spofforth ended the innings with sensational figures of 6-48. As if they were not good enough, he went on to claim 7-62 second time around.

    His efforts meant the timeless Test was over inside three days. For the England team, it had been a long way to travel to be beaten by 10 wickets in a one-off match.

    To mark the anniversary of Spofforth's stunning treble, we have picked out five of the greatest Test hat-tricks.

    There were plenty to choose from, so feel free to argue your case for one we have missed off the shortlist by using the comments section. 

Jimmy Matthews

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    Any bowler at any level knows how hard it is to achieve a hat-trick. Jimmy Matthews, however, managed to do it twice in the same match in 1912.

    The Australian leg-spinner wrapped up South Africa's first innings at Old Trafford (the two nations were playing in a triangular tournament that also involved England) to allow his captain to enforce the follow-on.

    South Africa were then bowled out for 95 in 28.2 overs; Matthews helped rush Australia to victory when he astonishingly claimed a second hat-trick, not only in the same Test but also on the same day!

    Spare a thought for poor Tommy Ward—on both occasions he was the third victim for Matthews; meaning on his debut for his country, the wicketkeeper-batsman recorded a king pair (out first ball in each innings).

    Sadly there are no pictures available of Matthews in action, so instead enjoy watching another Australian celebrating after taking three wickets in as many balls.

    Shane Warne missed out on the final cut despite his heroics against England in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne in 1994. Still, it is worth watching the video simply for David Boon's superb reaction catch at short leg to complete the dismissal of Devon Malcolm.

Dominic Cork

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    Having already made an impressive start to his Test career in the summer of 1995, Dominic Cork wrote his name in the record books by claiming three wickets in as many deliveries against West Indies.

    In just his third match for England, Cork helped set up a six-wicket victory for the hosts at Old Trafford with a brilliant spell on the fourth morning of the match.

    West Indies skipper Richie Richardson was his first victim, playing on to his stumps, then Junior Murray was trapped leg before wicket by the next ball.

    Carl Hooper—batting down the order due to a chipped finger—was unable to survive his first delivery too, given out lbw as he lunged forward onto the front foot.

    Cork became the first Englishman to claim a Test hat-trick since Peter Loader achieved the feat in 1957, also against West Indies.

Wasim Akram

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    Wasim Akram bagged not one but two Test hat-tricks in 1999, both in the month of March and both against Sri Lanka.

    Firstly, in Lahore, he had Romesh Kaluwitharana for an even 100 and then removed tail-end duo Niroshan Bandaratilleke and Pramodya Wickramasinghe as Pakistan claimed a first-innings lead in a match that would ultimately end up being drawn.

    Just four days later, the two sides met again in Dhaka in the final of the Asian Test Championship.

    After bowling out their opponents for 231 on the opening day, Pakistan piled on 594 to hold a huge first-innings lead.

    Left to face three overs before the close on Day 3, Sri Lanka slipped to 9-3. Opener Avishka Gunawardene was the first of Akram's wickets, caught behind the wicket off the fifth ball. Chaminda Vaas did not last too long as nightwatchman, dismissed next delivery without troubling the scorers.

    However, the Pakistan paceman had to wait until the start of his next over to complete his hat-trick, getting Mahela Jayawardene caught by Wajahatullah Wasti.

    Sri Lanka were bowled out for 188 the following day to lose by an innings.

Glenn McGrath

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    Glenn McGrath recorded a personal landmark during his Test treble against West Indies in 2000

    The match in Perth resulted in a landslide victory for Australia, so the most notable moment in the one-sided contest came on the opening day when McGrath reduced the tourists to 19-4.

    So why has it made the list? Because when he had Brian Lara caught for a first-ball duck for his second wicket of the hat-trick, the seamer also reached the milestone of 300 Test victims.

    Lara had come to the crease to replace Sherwin Campbell, who had been caught by Ricky Ponting to become the second West Indies wicket to fall to the new ball.

    Jimmy Adams was left to face the hat-trick ball; he did not survive, lobbing a simple catch up to Justin Langer under the helmet at short leg.

    McGrath failed to pick up another wicket in the innings and only claimed one when West Indies batted for a second time.

    He did, though, finish with 563 wickets at the end of a stellar Test career that saw him play in 124 matches for his country.

Harbhajan Singh

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    In a sensational Test match that turned out to be a tale of two halves, Harbhajan Singh made history when he took a hat-trick against Australia in Kolkata.

    Australia had reached 252-4 after choosing to bat first at Eden Gardens before Harbhajan gave the hosts hope by becoming the first bowler for India to take three wickets in as many deliveries in a Test.

    There was no doubting the validity of the dismissal of Ricky Ponting first up.

    However, Adam Gilchrist could be forgiven for feeling a little aggrieved to be adjudged lbw to the very next ball from the spinner. Not only did it possibly pitch outside leg stump, the batsman also hit it into his pad.

    Shane Warne then found himself involved in a hat-trick again, though, this time he wasn't the one celebrating.

    He looked less than happy to be given out caught at short leg; Warne claimed the ball had been hit into the floor before being snapped up by the fielder, but the third umpire did not agree.

    Australia still went on to make 445 in their first innings and after bowling India out for 171, looked to be marching toward victory when captain Steve Waugh asked the home team to bat again.

    Instead, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid not only batted India to safety but into a winning position. Left chasing 394 on a worn pitch, Australia were bowled out for 212.

    It was a quite stunning turnaround; Harbhajan finished up with 13 wickets in the Test and yet still missed out on the man-of-the-match award.