It isn’t an easy feat to carry your bat throughout the innings in any form of cricket. Carrying one’s bat is defined as the process of an opener staying unbeaten until the end, while his entire team has been dismissed or the innings have been declared.
Mostly carrying the bat throughout the innings signify that the team has ended in a fiasco as the contributions from other cricketers weren’t significant. However, there have been instances where the rest of the team members have provided significant contributions for the one batting till the end to carry on with his charismatic onslaught.
We will look at five instances where the batsman carried his bat to either provide a firm bookend to his team’s decline or blasted a gem of an innings to give his team a firm sway.
1. David Warner versus New Zealand:
The Australian opener proved a substantial point in his favour when he single-handedly almost carried his ailing team on his shoulders to cross the victory line, only to see his ambitions coming a cropper at the hands of Nathan Lyon’s failure.
It was the second test of the series as these two continental neighbours were pitted against each other. New Zealand could not really come to grips with the game as the Aussie bowling line up wreaked havoc, confining the Black Caps to 150.
Pattinson and Siddle decimated the New Zealand batting with some phenomenal bowling at both ends.
The game took a dramatic turn when the Kiwis got the better of their neighbours in an even more stunning fashion. Martin, Boult and Bracewell made quick work of their opponents. Australia could only managed 136.
New Zealand was once again skittled out very easily in the second innings for a meagre 226, thereby giving Australia a target of 241.
The Australian batting line was shortly seen stammering to the searing pace of Dugwell and Southee.
While Warner clawed on to the pitch at one end, hammering away the bad balls and letting go off the good ones, wickets fell at a regular interval at the other end.
Australia was reduced to 199 for 9 when Nathan Lyon walked in. Lyon isn’t a very good batter himself but he can take everything subjected at him. Partnering with Warner, he took a dogged defending stance that saw Australia inching closer to victory with Warner dictating proceedings.
However, the Australian hopes were snuffed out shortly after the ball slipped past Lyon’s guard and rattled the stumps, helping the Kiwis to clinch a dramatic victory.
Warner stayed unbeaten on 123 from 170 balls, thereby carrying his bat in a losing cause. Nevertheless, this will still go down as a remarkable fight from the southpaw.
2. Rahul Dravid versus England:
Indis suffered humiliation at the hands of a soaring England. However, this match would remain memorable for the Indians as Rahul Dravid achieved the herculean feat of carrying his bat in the first innings.
Riding on heroics from Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell, the hosts posted a mammoth total of 591 for 6.
India suffered an early blow as Gambhir was sidelined with an injury due to a concussion while fielding. Rahul Dravid opened the innings against England.
It was a pain to bat in Indian colours for that test as England razed through the Indian batting line up with zero mercy.
Rahul Dravid was the lone warrior who kept the English attackers at bay from imposing further humiliation upon the visitors.
With some significant help from Amit Mishra and RP Singh, Rahul Dravid single-handedly helped India to score 300, thanks to some exotic batting by the wall.
He stayed unbeaten until the end for 146, however, India was compelled to follow on and England didn’t face much resistance from the Indians in the second innings, thereby imposing a punishing defeat.
3. Warwick Armstrong versus South Africa:
This happened way back in 1902, when South Africa was hosting Australia. Warwick Armstrong was a sturdily-built all rounder who used to be a middle-order batsman.
Australia could only manage to ratchet up 175 runs batting first against a formidable South African bowling line up. Armstrong played a decent knock in the first innings too as he scored 49 before getting run out.
The Proteas took a decent lead as they were bundled out for 240 in the first innings.
When Australia came out to bat in the second innings, Armstrong surprisingly came out as the opener.
It was just the tip of the iceberg as what unfurled thereafter, left everyone agape. He started hammering the bowlers and took an extremely aggressive stance.
Though there was very minimal assistance from his counterparts, he single handedly propelled Australia to 309 in the second innings.
South Africa was skittled out for a paltry 85 with Saunders scalping 7 wickets in a magical spell.
4. Graham Gooch versus West Indies:
It is a herculean task to weather the storm of Curtly Ambrose, Patterson and Courtney Walsh at the same time, especially when you are an opener. However, Graham Gooch pulled off this incredible feat with soaring panache to win a crucial Test for the English.
England batted first and were skittled out for a modest 198. West Indies couldn’t make much headway either as DeFreitas rattled 4 crucial wickets to restrict West Indies for 173.
England’s second innings however, hogged the limelight for all the right reasons as Graham Gooch started batting his heart and soul out on the pitch.
There was very minimal help from other batsmen as England’s batting line up kept on crumbling. The sole warrior for England with the bat was their opener, Graham Gooch. Consuming 331 deliveries, Gooch managed to tot up 154, batting till the end, giving hopes of an English resurgence.
With 278 to chase, West Indies found themselves out of their element as Freitas bowled another destructive spell, picking up 4 wickets, limiting them to an even lower score than in the first innings.
5. Virender Sehwag versus Sri Lanka:
At Galle, Sehwag started the first innings in a no-holds barred mode as he took those Sri Lankan bowlers by the scruff of their neck and consigned them to a troubled paradise.
Once Gambhir got out, no other batsman could help Sehwag to pile more pressure on the hosts. However, instead of drifting from his natural style of play, he kept his aggressive stance and stayed unbeaten for 201 while India was bowled out for 329 in the first innings.
The Lankans fell short by 37 runs as Harbhajan’s spin proved to be of equal brilliance like that of their mysterious Ajantha Mendis.
Gambhir and Sehwag carried on with their rich vein of form but India shortly found themselves lacking strength as Sri Lanka bundled them up for a meagre 269.
Harbhajan Singh was absolutely relentless as he again scalped 4 wickets in the second innings while Ishant Sharma managed 3 for himself to give India a dominant victory over the Lankans.