A bowler always dreams of taking a hat-trick. Now imagine, you are a bowler, representing your country at the highest level of cricket. Your team desperately need a wicket. You come into the attack and not 1, not 2, but 3 big wickets consecutively is what you give to your team. You’ve rattled the opposition. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for since you dreamt it as a child. Now a fact check, only 42 players have achieved this feat till date. A total of 46 hat-tricks but some incredible players bagged 2. Out of thes 46, only 13 have been by spinners!!
A spinner bagging a hat-trick is always rare in test cricket. Limited overs cricket although has seen numerous hat-tricks by spinners. Here are the top 5 hat tricks by spinners in Test Cricket:
Moeen Ali : (4-45) SA vs ENG, Third Test Match, 2017
It was the Test summer of 2017. South Africa toured England for a 3 match test series. The third match of the series was hosted at The Oval. It was also the 100th Test match at The Oval. Moeen Ali made this event bigger by bagging a hat-trick in the second innings. South Africa, in the 4th innings saw a target of 492 infront of them Dean Elgar was playing at 136 and was a the lone warrior for the Proteas.
Moeen Ali got the ball. He had managed to pick just 1 wicket so far. He tossed one slower ball upto Dean Elgar who couldn’t resist but drive. Edge carried to the first slip and Elgar went back. On the very next ball, 75.5 over, Moeen Ali repeated the same ball and this time it was Kagiso Rabada who perished. The over ended. Moeen came back for the 78th over and was on a hat-trick on the first ball. Morne Morkel tried to defend but was clean plumb. England reviewed, 3 reds and Moeen Ali was all red with joy. England had won that test match and Moeen had created history by bagging test hat-trick.
Rangana Herath : (4-35) SL vs Aus, 2nd Test, 2016
Australia had toured Sri Lanka for a test series. Rangana Herath was on his peak. He was an elite bowler and on the pitches of Sri Lanka, no one could play him. Like Axar Patel in NaMo stadium, Herath owned Galle. Australia’s first innings. They were under a trail of 281 runs.
Rangana Herat was in his spell. 25th over of the innings. He flighted a ball outside off. Voges was taken away by the dip, went for the drive and handed out a low catch at short extra cover. Peter Nevill followed him to the dressing room on the very next ball as he adjudged leg before. Starc was the third fish for Herath.
Herath became just the 2nd Sri Lankas to bag a Test Hat-trick.
Shane Warne : (3-16) The Ashes, 1994
Shane Warne’s hat-trick is talked about a lot. The main reason being that it was an Ashes hat-trick. Warne was the deadliest spinner at the moment. He could spin big on dead surfaces as well.
It was the 2nd Test Match of The Ashes. Being played in Melbourne.
The 4th innings, England were looking at a target of 388 runs. Craig McDermott had rattled through the English top order. It was just the tail enders hanging around when Warne came into the attack. He trapped Phil DeFritas lbw and due to no DRS at that time, DeFritas went back. Darren Gough was the next on cards. He stretched his front leg to defend with his bat. Ball spun big and took his edge to the keeper. Devon Malcolm on the very next ball handed out a catch to forward short leg and Shane Warne had bagged his first ever Test hat-trick. England bundled out for 92 and Australia won by 295 runs.
Keshav Maharaj : (5-36) SA vs WI, 2021
Just a week ago, when rain Gods were not happy with World Test Championship’s Final and were pouring heavily on the Ageas Bowl, fans had switched their channels. They were more interested in the 2 match Test series of West Indies and South Africa.
The second test of the series. SA were way ahead in the game. WI were chasing 324 runs in the 4th innings and were in hope of another Kyle Mayers special. But they were unaware of what Maharaj had for them.
Keshav Maharaj came onto bowlthe 37th over. He bowled one outside off, turning into the left hander, Rovman Powell who holed out a catch to deep mid wicket. Jason Holder, on the very next ball, edged one to forward short leg and suddenly Maharaj was on a hat-trick. Da Silva came in to bat. He edged his first ball going down leg and Mulder took a blinder to give Maharaj his hat-trick.
The third wicket was more of Mulder than Maharaj but alas, this is what it is. Keshav Maharaj became just the 2nd South African to scalp a hat-trick in Test Cricket.
Harbhajan Singh : (7-123) Ind vs Aus, 2001
This has to be one of the greatest Test hat-trick there is. India vs Australia, 2001 is considered as one of the best Test series. This hat-trick was a huge part of it. The Turbonator, Harbhajan Singh peaked in that series.
Harbhajan had picked 13 wickets in that match and a total of 30 in the 3-match series.
Coming to the hat-trick. Australia were very well set at 252-4. The run rate was impressive and Ricky Ponting had just come into bat 12 balls ago. Just then, Harbhajan bowled in a length ball, predicted to turn much, but didn’t. The ball drifted and hit the pads of Ricky Ponting well infront of the stumps. Adam Gilchrist, the next to bat was ready for whatever Bhajji threw at him. But, Bhajji was smart, bowled around leg stump, ball turned, stayed low and hit Gilly on the pads. With regard to no DRS, Gilchrist departed. Shane Warne was the next bat. Bhajji grabbed is first test cricket hat-trick by getting Shane out.
This was one hell of a test match. One of the Greatest in the history of Test Cricket