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'Ice Man' walks out in familiar fashion

The game?s most successful captain joined a small club by ending his last game in a tame draw.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2004 20:48 IST
Akshay Malik & Vridul Gahlawat
Akshay Malik & Vridul Gahlawat

Australia Test captain Steve Waugh’s glorious career spanning 18 years has been a statistician’s delight. But, a draw in his last Test against India spoiled the chances of another feather in his cap.

The most-capped player with 168 Tests to his name and the game’s most successful captain joined a small club of Test captains who ended their last game in a tame draw. Australia’s Allan Border and India’s Sunil Gavaskar are the other two Test captains in recent cricket history who ended their last innings with the same result.

Pakistan’s all-rounder Imran Khan remains the only Test captain who finished his last game with a victory to celebrate while West Indies’ legend Clive Lloyd had the poor distinction of calling an end to his illustrious career on a losing note.

Waugh’s last game, however, does not mar his otherwise distinguished record of a staggering 41 wins from 57 games, with 16 straight victories and an astonishing 75 per cent success ratio. Waugh also holds the record (along with Gary Kirsten) of having registered a ton against all Test playing nations besides being the second highest scorer in Tests with 10,927 runs behind Allan Border (11,174).

For Aussie fans, Tuesday’s game could not have, probably, ended on a better note. Virtually made to follow-on by India, the Aussies began their final chase on shaky grounds. Having lost the top three wickets for 170 runs on a crumbling fifth-day pitch, the ‘Ice Man’ came to the rescue of the team yet again.

A signature 80-run knock saved Aussies the Test and the ignoble distinction of leading his team to defeat on his very last outing.

Waugh can find solace in the fact that not many Test captains have conquered the fort in their last match.

Former Aussie great Allan Border played his last match as captain against South Africa in 1993-94. Winning the toss, South Africa sent in Australia to bat and bowled them out for a paltry 269. In reply, South Africa hammered 422. Australia made 297/4 in their second innings to end the Test in a draw.

Sunil Gavaskar ended his Test career against England in February 1985. India elected to bat after winning the toss and piled up 553 runs in their first inning. England were bowled out for 417 and India declared on 97/1 in the second innings. England made 91 for no loss in their second innings and the match ended in a draw.

Imran Khan ended his captaincy on a winning note, defeating Sri Lanka at Faisalabad in January 1992 by a narrow margin. Pakistan bowled out Sri Lanka for 240 in a low-scoring encounter to which the home side replied with 221. In the second innings, Sri Lanka crashed to 165. Imran led his team to a three-wicket victory.

Clive Lloyd did not have such a good farewell gift, ending his career as the West Indian captain with an innings defeat at the hands of Australia. Though the Caribbean side had already won the series 3-1, Lloyd would have dreamt differently of his last Test.

First Published: Jan 06, 2004 18:04 IST