Cairns ends two-year wait

New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns joined an elite group, when he captured his 200th wicket on Monday to go with the 3,000 runs he reached on Saturday.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2004 14:02 IST

New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns joined an elite group during the second test against South Africa, when he captured his 200th wicket on Monday to go with the 3,000 runs he reached on Saturday.

His contribution was instrumental in a nine-wicket victory that gave the home side a 1-0 lead in the three match series, but the final push to become the sixth player to achieve the feat has taken a lot longer than he would have liked.

Two years ago, Cairns needed 180 runs and six wickets to join the sport's leading group of all-rounders and was hoping to achieve his goal against a touring England side.

After capturing three wickets on the first morning of the first test in Christchurch, Cairns ruptured a patella tendon and was unable to bowl again in the series.

He did manage to score 23 painful runs batting at number 11 in that match as Nathan Astle blasted his record-breaking 222 at the other end in a valiant losing effort.

Cairns did not return to test action until the Pakistan series late last year but failed to take a wicket and contributed 28 runs with the bat.

He missed the second test of that series through illness, but picked up a wicket in the drawn first test against South Africa in Hamilton to move to 198 and added another in the first innings of the second test.

Cairns reached 3,000 runs when he got to 108 in his swashbuckling knock of 158 in New Zealand's first innings, and on the fourth day was harshly treated by Jacques Rudolph and Jacques Kallis in his opening spell with the ball.

However, Nicky Boje duly obliged on the fifth morning, edging to Brendon McCullum behind the stumps to spark a three-wicket salvo for the relieved Cairns.

He is the second New Zealander to attain the double after Sir Richard Hadlee and joins an illustrious list containing Sir Garfield Sobers, Ian Botham, Kapil Dev and Imran Khan.

"It's just nice to go to Wellington (for the third test) without anything on my mind. I'm really looking forward to just getting out there and playing," Cairns said.

South Africa's Shaun Pollock, who broke the republic's wicket-taking record during New Zealand's first innings, will be seeking his 3,000th run in the Wellington test.

However, with 334 wickets and 2898 runs, Pollock will jump above Cairns and Sobers to join the other three greats in the even more elite 300/3,000 club when he adds 102 more to his batting stats.

First Published: Mar 22, 2004 14:02 IST