Happy Birthday Martin Crowe: New Zealand’s Martin Crowe became a benchmark for batters in the late 80s and 90s. An elegant right-hander who played with poise and had an immaculate range, Crowe quickly established himself as one of the finest in Test Cricket. The Kiwi stalwart captained New Zealand in the 1992 World Cup and engineered a thrilling run all the way to the semi-finals. By the time Crowe drew curtains to his illustrious career, he had become New Zealand’s top run-getter in Tests. He amassed 5444 runs, scoring at an impressive average of 45.36 with 17 hundreds under his belt.
As we celebrate the legend’s birthday today, let’s take a look at some of his top innings for his nation:
188 runs against West Indies, Georgetown, 1985
Consider a Test Match in Georgetown when the West Indies were at the peak of their powers and their bowling attack included the likes of Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, and Michael Holding. Just the thought of facing these bowlers would give the best batters a shiver down their spine.
Crowe stepped out to bat with New Zealand down at 45 for 2 after the West Indies had racked up 511 in the first innings. Battling against a ferocious pace attack, Crowe kept the innings together. He played one of the most resilient knocks in the history of Test Cricket and stitched together a hard-fought innings of 188 runs off 462 balls.
His 10-hour long stay at the crease, lead his team to a respectable score of 440 and was the sole reason that New Zealand could draw the Test and avoid a thumping defeat.
188 runs against Australia, Brisbane, 1985
Crowe was one of the architects of New Zealand’s most historic test victories over arch-rivals Australia in their own backyard. In Brisbane, Crowe produced a masterful Test innings. After dismissing the hosts for a mere 179 runs, the Kiwis set up a massive 553 in the first innings, thanks to Crowe’s stroke-filled innings of 188-runs off 328 deliveries. Though he missed out on a double hundred, Crowe celebrated his team’s comprehensive victory by an innings and 41 runs on Australian soil.
299 runs against Sri Lanka, Wellington, 1991
Crowe’s highest score in Test cricket and arguably a very painful one came against Sri Lanka where he had to return to the hut, just one run short of a Triple hundred. For the record, it is the only case in Test Cricket that a batter got out on 299.
New Zealand were 323 runs down as they batted in the second innings, and Crowe came to the crease with his team at 148 for 2. From there, he stitched together a humongous 467-run partnership with Andrew Jones, a record for any wicket at the time, and dragged his side out of defeat.
142 runs against England, Lord’s, 1995
Martin Crowe etched his name twice on the honour boards of the Mecca of cricket, the Lord’s. One of them came against England in 1995, when he produced a high-quality knock of 142 runs in his final innings on this iconic ground. He batted through the innings in a marathon effort that saw him spend almost six hours in the middle.
Despite wickets tumbling at the other end, he stroked the ball efficiently to all areas of the pitch and helped his team post a massive total. Though New Zealand appeared to be on course to win, a strong fight-back from England resulted in a draw.
174 runs against Pakistan, Wellington, 1989
Wellington’s Basin Reserve has been Crowe’s favourite hunting grounds as he scored a lot of runs at the venue, including five hundreds. Against a star-studded Pakistan bowling line-up in 1989, Crowe played one of the best innings of his career.
Facing the likes of the legendary Imran Khan, Aaqib Javed, Mudassar Nazar, and Abdul Qadir, Crowe befuddled the Pakistan attack as he compiled a sumptuous innings of 174 runs off 410 deliveries. Though the Test Match ended in a draw, Crowe’s ton against a world-class bowling attack hailed him as the greatest Test batters of all time.