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Bharath SeerviStats sub-editor, ESPNcricinfo
On this day in 1974, two legendary West Indies cricketers played their last day of Test cricket:Garry SobersandRohan Kanhai. Here is a look at some of the instances when two or more huge names from the same team played their last Test together.
Garry Sobers and Rohan Kanhai – v England,Port of Spain, 1974
Sobers and Kanhai held several records for West Indies when they played their last Test: they were the two most experienced players at the time, having played93 and 79 matches, they were West Indies’top two run-getters, with 8032 and 6227 runs – Sobers was theoverall leaderas well – and they were also the pair with the mostcentury partnerships(six). Sobers was also theirsecond-highest wicket-takerbehind Lance Gibbs, and was easily the leading allrounder in the game.
The last Test wasn’t a memorable one for them, though. Sobers scored 0 and 20, while Kanhai made 2 made 7. West Indies lost the match by 26 runs after Tony Greig’s 13-wicket haul, and the five-match series was drawn 1-1.
The loss of these two was obviously huge for West Indies, but their next big names were just around the corner: in the very next series,against India, West Indies handed debuts to Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge, who went on to rank among their finest batsmen.
Greg Chappell, Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh – v Pakistan,Sydney, 1984
The famous Australian trio of the 1970s and ’80s bid adieu to Test cricket after the final game of this five-match series against Pakistan. The retirement of the three left a huge hole in Australian cricket, given that they were the toppers in their respective areas: Chappell wasAustralia’s highestrun-getter with 7110 runs in 87 Tests, while Lillee ended with 355 wickets and Marsh with 355 keeping dismissals, both overall record holders formost wicketsandmost keeping dismissalsin Tests at the time. Chappell was also Australia’s mostsuccessful captainand second only to Clive Lloyd at the time.
Unlike Sobers and Kanhai, the three Australians had a memorable final Test, achieving significant milestones in that game. Chappell went past Don Bradman’s tally of 6996 runs in his final Test innings of 182. Lillee became the first bowler to take 350 Test wickets with four wickets in each innings, and Rod Marsh played his 96th Test as wicketkeeper, going past Alan Knott’s record for mostTests by a keeper. Between them Lillee and Marsh accounted for 95 dismissals in Tests, which is still a record by abowler-wicketkeepercombination. Australia won by 10 wickets and Chappell, who was Man of the Match, also achieved the rare distinction of scoring a century in his first and last Test.
Their departure obviously hit Australia hard. After the trio’s exit, they lost four successive Test series and did not win any of their nexteight series, which included two Ashes series. Before their exit, Australia had just regained the Ashes in the previous season, and had lost only two of theirlast 10 series.
Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall and Jeff Dujon – v England,The Oval, 1991
They were the three stalwarts of West Indies’ dominant side of the 1980s, and like the Australian trio, they were the team’s leading top run-getter, wicket-taker and wicketkeeper – Richards retired with8540 runs, Marshall with376 wicketsand Dujon with272 dismissals. Only Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border hadmore runs than Richards, only Richard Hadlee and Ian Botham hadmore wicketsthan Marshall and only Rod Marsh had more dismissals than Dujon at the time.
Unlike the Australian trio, though, they couldn’t quite finish on a high, as England won that last Test of the series by five wickets to level the series 2-2. In the final Test, Richards scored 2 and 60, Dujon 0 and 5 and Marshall picked up only two wickets. For the first time in seven years, West Indies were asked to follow on by any team, while England enforced their first follow-on over West Indies in22 years.
West Indies, though, had enough depth at the time to continue their winning ways: they had not lost a series since 1978 and they kept that record going till 1995.
Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Justin Langer – v England,Sydney, 2007
The most successful spinner and the most successful fast bowler,Warne and McGrath, both retired in the same Test along with one of Australia’s finest openers, Langer. It was the first instance of three players, each with more than 100 Tests, retiring in the same match. The occasion was even more special as Australia sealed a comprehensive 5-0 Ashes triumph, winning thefifth Test by 10 wickets. In their final Test, McGrath picked up three wickets in each innings, Warne picked up only two wickets but scored a crucial 71 in the first innings. Langer got 26 runs in the first innings, while in the second he remained not out as his partner hit the winning runs.
With Warne, McGrath and Langer in the line-up, Australia had lost only one of theirlast 16 series– the 2005 Ashes. But after their exit, Australia lost three of their nexteight series– one each to India, South Africa and The Ashes.
Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq – v West Indies,Roseau, 2017
Seldom have a country’s most successful batsman and most successful captain retired together, as Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq did for Pakistan in 2017.
Younis ended his career with 10,099 runs after becoming theonly Pakistan batsmanto score over 10,000 runs, in his final series. Misbah’s 26 Test wins as a captain arenearly twiceas many as any other Pakistan captain, and they lost just one series under Misbah in the UAE. Younis played in 53 of Misbah’s 56 Tests as captain and they were 39 years and 42 years of age respectively at their retirement. Aftertheir retirement, Pakistan have won only two of their seven Test series, and have won only four matches out of 16, losing 10. Pakistan stillMisYou.
Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman – v Australia,Adelaide, 2012
The high point for the two batsmen collectively was obviously their epic 376-run partnership inthatKolkata Test, but they also remain theonly Indian pairto put together two triple-century partnerships in Tests. At the time of their retirement, onlytwo Indian pairshad more partnership runs than they did.
Thislast serieswasn’t memorable for either of them. Dravid scored only 194 runs and Laxman 155, in eight innings each, as India were drubbed 4-0.
Other sets of players who played their last Test together after playing 75 or more matches: