Recently, Rohit Sharma declared India’s innings when Ravindra Jadeja was 25 runs short of a double century, and everyone was not impressed by the decision. Later, Sharma revealed that Jadeja also wanted the same, settling the matter which seemed to be going out of hand. Anyway, this reminded us of other declarations in Test cricket that are still discussed after all these years. Here you go.
1. Have to start with the most controversial of them all. It’s almost been 2 decades, but Indians still find it hard to comprehend that Rahul Dravid, the then Test captain, would declare innings when Sachin Tendulkar was so close to a double century (6 runs away, to be exact).
Later, it was revealed that Sachin felt disappointed by the decision, while Dravid had his own reasons for it – he wanted Pakistan to play the final hour of the day. The two, being the mature players they are, sorted things out by a conversation and that was that.
Dravid, oh Dravid…..— Rob Moody (@robelinda2) October 9, 2020
Sachin Tendulkar robbed of a double century vs Pakistan……
Heartbreak for SRT fans…… pic.twitter.com/BiduF5eVvU
2. In the year 2000, Hansie Cronje and Nasser Hussain reached a conclusion that England will declare their first innings at 0-0, and South Africa will forfeit their second innings so as to make sure there was a conclusion to the match. They did this because the rain stopped play on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th day of the match.
Now, the other part of the story – Hansie Cronje was insistent on playing for a result because he had taken money from a bookie for it. At the time, the fact that the captains reached a settlement was seen as a great thing, but the eventual revelations broke everyone’s hearts.
3. During the 1995 Ashes, Mike Atherton declared England’s second innings when Graeme Hick was playing at 98*. The captain was apparently irritated by the fact that Hick had scored just 36 runs in 80 minutes on the fourth day, which meant there was less time to bowl Australia out when they got to play.
As per reports, Hick felt let down by Atherton’s decision and did not speak to him during the tour.
4. South Africa gave away a perfectly strong position in the third Test against Australia during their 2005-2006 tour. They had scored 45 runs in the first innings and bundled out Australia for 359 to take the lead. Then, something got into Graeme Smith’s head and he declared second innings at 194/6. He was probably thinking the Proteas will be able to dismiss the Australians for cheap, which they couldn’t.
Ultimately, Australia won the match by 8 wickets, and South Africa was criticised left, right and center.
5. The second Test between Pakistan and England in 1974 was going fine for the Asian side before it started raining incessantly. At the time, the rules stated that the pitch would not be covered in case it rains – only the bowlers’ run-up area and the batting crease were covered. So when Pakistan returned to play, the pitch was completely different and from 71-0, they went 130-9, at which point, they declared.
There were a lot of ups and downs during the match because of the downpour, but it ended in a draw. The game is remembered for Pakistan’s resilience but also unfortunately for the lowest total for which declaration has been made in the first innings.
Test cricket is as much about the right decisions as it is about good performances.