The Ashes - 2nd Test
England v Australia
Australia won by 3 wickets
Test no. 51 | 1896 season
Played at Old Trafford, Manchester
16,17,18 July 1896 (3-day match)
Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji
- Ranji, the first Indian to play Test cricket, became the second batsman after Grace to score a hundred on debut for England.
- He was the first to score a hundred before lunch in a Test match; on the third morning he took his overnight score of 41* to 154*, adding 113 runs in 130 minutes.
- Brown kept wicket when Lilley's leg-breaks were required to break a stand.
- G Giffen became the first to complete the Test career double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets.
Pushing the laws to the limit
Ranji, an Indian prince, was probably one of the finest batsmen of all time, not only in terms of runs scored but also because he brought new strokes to the game. His keen eye, unorthodoxy and speed of reaction meant that introduced the late cut and leg glance, as well as the art of back-foot defence.
Gentlemen prefer blondes, apparently. Back in the 1890s they also preferred to score their runs on the off side. Leg-stump half-volleys were routinely patted back to the bowler ("try again, old bean"), and it wasn't until an Indian prince descended on the English game that a whole new zone of scoring was opened up to cricket. Having been taught by his coach to anchor his back foot in the crease to keep him in line against quick bowling, Ranjitsinhji discovered that he could use his wonderfully supple wrists to flick the straighter deliveries off his hips to the fine-leg boundary. Not everyone was taken with this tactic however - it was deemed immoral by some, although that might have stemmed more from the racist hostility that Ranji attracted from some of the more reactionary types at the MCC. But Neville Cardus described his strokes as "lovely magic", and by the time he'd played 15 Tests for England, averaging 44.95 with two hundreds, the Victorian public had been won over as well.
Outcome Became part of the game