Gavaskar was out ‘first ball’ of a Test Match on three occasions : ‘Little Master’ Sunil Gavaskar was the first cricketer ever to clock 10,000 runs in international cricket in the longer format of the game.
This landmark he achieved while playing in the Fourth Test match against Pakistan at Gujarat Stadium, Motera, Ahmedabad, on March 7, 1987.
Gavaskar was on a tally of 9,942 runs at the beginning of the Test.
Opening the innings and after losing the company of his opening partner, Krishnamachari Srikkanth (22) and Mohinder Amanath (7), at the team score of 46 runs for the loss of 2 wickets, Gavaskar was joined by Dilip Vengsarkar in the middle.
While on 57 runs, Gavaskar had notched up 9,999 runs and was just one run short of a unique record. A single would take him to a point where no cricketer had ever gone. He would have scored a huge 10,000 runs.
A quick single off Ijaz Faqih, the off-spinner, took Gavaskar from 57 to 58 and he created history by becoming the first cricketer to scale Mt 10K, a feat which the entire cricketing fraternity was in awe.
He later went on to score 63 runs and fell ‘leg before’ to the Pakistan skipper, Imran Khan.
When play ended, Gavaskar had stated, “I would have just been happy with 1,000 runs. Now I feel 10 times more fantastic.”
Though this series saw the batting legend create a word record, it also saw this great batsman get out on the very first ball of a Test match for a third time.
The third Test of this series was played between 21st and 27th February, 1986, at Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur.
Opening the batting alongwith Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Gavaskar lasted just 1 minute at the crease, faced the first ball and had to walk back to the pavilion, being caught by Javed Miandad off Imran Khan. He, however, scored 24 runs in the second knock. The match ended in a draw.
There are two other instances of him getting out on the very first delivery of a Test match.
The first instance of Gavaskar getting out on the first ball of a Test match happened in the Third Test of the 1974 season when India toured England under the captaincy of Ajit Wadekar.
The match was played at Edgbaston, Birmingham, between 4th and 8th July, 1974.
Opening the innings alongwith Sudhir Naik, the legendary opener lasted just one minute at the crease, faced one delivery and had to walk back to the pavilion, caught behind the stumps by the ‘ever agile’ Alan Knott off the bowling of Geoff Arnold.
Gavaskar scored just 4 runs in the second knock and India lost the match by an innings and 78 runs.
The second instance of the Indian legend getting out on the very first delivery, happened in the Fifth and pen-ultimate Test played against West Indies between 10th and 14th December, 1983, at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
This was just after the Kapil’s Devils’ had won the ICC World Cup (Prudential Cup – 60 over format) in June 1983, defeating the then mighty West Indies in the final encounter at Lord’s.
Opening the innings alongwith Ansuman Gaekwad, the Little Master could stay for just a minute at the crease, faced one delivery, and had to walk back to the pavilion being, once again, caught behind the stumps by Jeffry Dujon off the bowling of Malcolm Mashall.
In the second knock, Gavaskar scored 20 runs and eventually West Indies won the match by an innings and 46 runs.
Thus the otherwise impeccable record of Sunil Gavaskar has this dubious distinction of ‘first ball dismissals’ in Tests three times.
Gavaskar held on to this record until Hannan Sarkar of Bangladesh equalled the same. Sarkar had this ‘dubious’ distinction against West Indies on all the three occasions – in 2003 at Dhaka and in 2004 in successive Tests at St Lucia and Jamaica. Colin Pedro was the bowler on all the three occasions.