When Chris Gayle hit the first ball of a Test match for six
In 2012, West Indies and Bangladesh played out a Test match at Mirpur where nothing was out of the ordinary except the very first ball of the event.
West Indies won the toss and opted to bat first on what was a dry wicket at Mirpur. Bangladesh had lined up with a slew of spinners, including debutant Sohag Gazi, an off-spinner who was expected to shoulder a large chunk of responsibility in the spin department.
The debutant got the new ball against the West Indies opening batters and not long after donning his Test cap for the first time, Gazi was strolling in to bowl the opening ball of the Test match. Keep in mind that this was 2012 and Chris Gayle's weakness against off-spin bowling was only recently exposed by South Africa's performance analyst, Prasanna Raman.
The Proteas used Johan Botha to counter Gayle in the 2011 World Cup and it was a formula most teams followed since then against the big hitter from the Caribbean islands. Gayle's weakness was always against slow bowling, with the ball turning away from the left-hander.
The Windies opener was a proud batsman. Exposing a weakness he possibly had in his game wasn't one that Gayle would have liked. He hadn't called himself the Universe Boss at the time but Gayle sure thought of himself as someone who could take on any bowler in the world. And so a debutant was definitely Gayle's Cup of tea.
But few anticipated what would unfold soon after. Gazi strode in for his first delivery; an innocuous full ball near the pads that would then hit the dusty wicket and turn away from Gayle. Only, it didn't. Soon after it landed, Gayle's meaty piece of wood met the red leather in one swift, aggressive motion. The ball flew over long-on and landed way outside the hoardings.
A first ball six in a Test match! This was Chris Henry Gayle and such things were expected from him. Yet, the astonishing feat left onlookers in a daze. Never once before or since then has a batsman hit a six off the first ball of a Test match.
Two balls later, a leg-bye resulted in a four, and off the next ball, Gayle cracked another six. Remember, this was the bright sunny morning session of the first over of the opening day of a Test match, and Gayle was determined to storm Mirpur. 18 runs came off the over as Gayle and West Indies were off to a flier.
Bangladesh, to their credit, were unmoved by the Gayle blitz. They stuck to their guns and kept throwing Gazi at Gayle. Rude, you'd say? The debutant was up to the task though. In the fifth over of the innings, an overconfident Gayle tried to loft Gazi and holed out to long-off and Bangladesh had their big breakthrough. Test cricket, you beauty!
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Munir Uz Zaman