5 Greatest ‘Night Watchman’ Innings In Cricket History

Jack Russell, 94 vs Sri Lanka




In a game that had four debutants for England, Sri Lanka were caught unawares by the talent of Jack Russell. The Englishman, who was a wicketkeeper-batsman managed to score a fluid 94 on his debut innings.

He came on as a night watchman, joining captain Graham Gooch after the fall of  Tim Robinson. He went on to keep the scoreboard ticking along with Kim Barnett until he reached 6 runs short of a century. He threw away his wicket, but not after playing a very dominating innings that crushed the Lankans confidence.  England went on to win the game in the fifth day at Lord’s.

Alex Tudor, 99* vs New Zealand


The English were playing New Zealand in a series back in 1999 and were skittled out for just beyond 100 while chasing the Kiwis first innings score of 226.

Having conceded a huge lead, England, prompted by a powerful speech from Nasser Hussain, the captain, went on to bowl beautifully to set themselves a target above 220 to win the match. Alex Tudor, the bowler was sent out as a night watchman, in a role that changed the fate of the game. He played a masterful innings of 99* and took England to a famous win.

Syed Kirmani, 101* vs Australia


In a game that had Kirmani sent in ahead of the experienced Mohinder Amarnath and Yashpal Sharma, India rode on a gritty innings to win the game. Joining Gundappa Vishwanath at the crease, Kirmani hit the bowlers all around the park, stitching important partnerships with Kapil Dev and Karsan Ghavri. After completing his century after five hours at the crease, he helped India post a decent total. Australia were bowled out for 198 in their second innings and India took the series 2-0 to extract revenge from the Aussies in the series down Under.

Mark Boucher, 105 vs England


The South African wicket-keeper came on to the crease after the loss of Gibbs and Kallis and was to play only the night watchman’s role alongside Gary Kirsten. However, Boucher went on to make a brilliant 108 which propelled South Africa to a massive total of 572 after being asked to follow on. Kirsten went on to make a superb 275 but it was Boucher who took home the plaudits for a superbly paced century.

Jason Gillespie, 201* vs Bangladesh


The Australian came on to the pitch following the fall of Matthew Hayden towards the end of the first day. Gillespie came on and joined Phil Jaques only as a night-watchman. However, he went on to play a super innings, unleashing a flurry of gorgeous drives and shots. He went on to join Mike Hussey for a 320 run partnership. Australia posted a mammoth total of 581/4 which Bangladesh could just not handle and they went on to win the match.

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