The toughest job for an Asian batsman in Test cricket is to score runs outside the subcontinent. In Asia, the wickets are pretty flat, and run-scoring can be easy at times but that’s not the case in the SENA countries. There is pace and bounce in Australia and South Africa whereas there is swing and seam in England and New Zealand. These are conditions that an Asian batsman hasn’t seen growing up. It is a completely new experience for them and hence scoring runs in these conditions is valued more.
Talking about Australia, there are few Asian captains who have managed to tour down under and score runs. Not only the captain but most of the batsmen have found it difficult to score runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground where the Boxing Day Test is played. Only four visiting Asian Test captains have managed to score a century at the MCG. So, let’s have a look at these four captains.
Hanif Mohammad 104 in 1964
The first time an Asian captain scored a century at the MCG was way back in 1946 when Pakistan’s skipper Hanif Mohammad scored 104 in the Boxing Day Test. Australia won the toss and opted to bowl first. Batting first, Pakistan’s captain scored 104 off 195 balls which helped them get to 287 before getting bowled out.
He almost got another century in the second innings as he scored 93 off 228 balls which helped Pakistan gain a significant lead which resulted in the match ending in a draw. It was a great game of cricket and Hanif Mohammad was at his absolute best.
Sachin Tendulkar – 116 in 1999
India won the toss and opted to bowl first in the Boxing Day Test. Australia batted really well as they scored 448 in their first innings. In reply, India’s batsmen struggled and their skipper Sachin Tendulkar was the only one who scored runs as they were bowled out for 238. Sachin Tendulkar scored 116 off 191 balls in the first innings.
In the fourth innings, India was set a target of 376 and again it was only the captain Sachin Tendulkar who got a century as India were bowled out 195, and they lost the game by 180 runs.
Mohammad Yousuf – 111 in 2004
Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat first on Day 1 of the 2004 Boxing Day Test Cricket match. A couple of players got a half-century, but it was the skipper Mohammad Yousuf who scored a magnificent century which helped Pakistan reach 341.
Yousuf scored 111 off just 134 balls as he smashed 11 fours and four sixes. It was quite a counter-attacking innings from the Pakistan skipper. Pakistan didn’t bat well in the second innings and Australia won the game by nine wickets.
Ajinkya Rahane – 112 in 2020
Ajinkya Rahane who is currently leading India in the absence of Virat Kohli is the latest entrant in this special club. Australia won the toss and opted to bat first but the Indian bowled well, and they were bowled out for 195 in their first innings. In reply, India kept losing wickets at the other end but their skipper Ajinkya Rahane wasn’t going anywhere.
He was absolutely magnificent as he scored a century in the first innings which helped India take a 131-run lead. It was such an important innings as India were bowled out for just 36 in their last Test match. Rahane made a statement with his stunning century against a high-quality bowling attack.