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Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah combined to put up a record ninth-wicket stand of 89 runs against England in the Lord’s Test. They came together when India was struggling at 209-8, with a lead of 182 runs. With Indian tailenders not enjoying great batting records, the chance of them being bowled out quickly was on the cards, but Shami-Bumrah defied all odds, overcoming sledging from England players to take India out of trouble, and help India set a target. 

Shami was the standout batsman of the two, mixing caution with aggression as he raced to his fifty with a four and a six. Bumrah lent great support with the tight defense, eventually, leading India to a magnificent victory over the hosts, helping India take a 1-0 lead in the 5-match series. 

There have been such brave and brilliant batting displays by tailenders before. Cricwizz takes a look at such tailenders who shocked the cricketing world with their batting displays.

1) Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie against New Zealand in 2004

Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie - Photo courtesy: cricket.com.au

Australia was 471/9 chasing New Zealand’s first-innings total of 353 when Glenn McGrath joined his bowling partner Jason Gillespie in the middle. In the next 36 overs, the two batted together to stitch a stand of 114 runs for the 10th wicket. McGrath was dismissed for 61, while Gillespie remained unbeaten on 54. 

It was both bowlers’ maiden Test fifty, coming in each other’s company. Australia went on to win the match by an innings and 156 runs. It was the only fifty of McGrath’s Test career. Gillespie’s fifty gave him a lot of confidence in his batting skills, and he went on to hit a double ton as a night watchman in the last Test of his career.

2) Mitchell Johnson’s 123 not out against SA at Cape Town in 2009

Australia was staring at an embarrassing innings defeat when they were 6 down for 218 in the second innings. They needed another 224 runs to make South Africa bat again. Australian pace bowler then walked out to bat and played the innings of his life. 

He threw caution to the wind, and launched a counterattack, slamming 11 fours and 5 sixes during his knock of 123 not out as Australia were bowled out for 422 to lose the match by an innings and 20 runs.

3) Ashton Agar’s 98 against England at Nottingham in 2013

It was the first Ashes Test at Nottingham in 2013, and Australia was staring at embarrassment after they were reduced to 119/7 while overhauling England’s first-innings score of 215. Spinner Ashton Agar, who was making his Test debut, gave a shocker of a performance, making a brilliant 98 of 101 balls and combining with Phillip Hughes (81 not out) for a then-record 10th wicket stand of 163 runs. 

However, Australia ended up on the losing side, when they were bowled out for 296 while chasing a target of 311 runs.

4) James Anderson’s 81 against India at Nottingham in 2014

England were 298/9 when James Anderson joined Joe Root in the middle with his team 159 in arrears. He then unleashed a counterattack against the Indian bowling attack to stitch the highest 10th wicket partnership of 198 runs. Anderson made 81 off 130 balls with 17 fours to put India on the backfoot. 

Root remained unbeaten on 154 not out. It was Anderson’s only fifty of his Test career so far. Anderson was named man of the match in this drawn match.

5) Harbhajan Singh’s 115 against New Zealand at Ahmedabad in 2010

Harbhajan Singh Test tailender
Harbhajan Singh (Image Credits: BCCIofficial)

India had managed a lead of just 28 runs when they started their second innings. But a batting collapse saw India lose 5 wickets for 15 runs, with an overall lead of just 43 runs. India could have then been bowled out cheaply. 

But a tailender in off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who is hardly known for batting skills, gave full support to VVS Laxman and cracked his maiden Test ton. Coming to bat at 65/6, Bhajji put up a 163-run stand for the 7th wicket with Laxman. 

He then joined forces with Pragyan Ojha to reach his century before he was dismissed for 115. Thanks to his knock, India was able to draw the match.

Cover image: Mohammed Shami

Cover image courtesy: Indian cricket team Facebook page