Unfamiliar territory: Three unique neutral Tests you did not know about

Test cricket, which began in 1877, has seen very few radical changes throughout its journey over the years. For example, the first-ever day-night Test was played as late as 2015. Playing a neutral Test is another such novelty. The first neutral Test was played in 1912, however, the gap between the 3rd and 4th neutral Tests is 87 years. Thus here are three unique neutral Tests that you may not have heard about.

3. Australia vs South Africa in Manchester (1912)

In the year 1912, only three nations were playing Test cricket – England, Australia, and South Africa. Conducting a novel experiment, they decided to play in a triangular Test tournament. The first neutral Test was thus played between Australia and South Africa in Manchester.

Batting first, Australia raised a mountain of 448 runs. In reply, South Africa was shot down for 265 and 95 runs thus losing the match by an innings and 88 runs. The match is remembered for a special feat pulled off by Australia’s Jimmy Matthews. He took two hat-tricks in this match, one in each inning.

2. Pakistan vs Sri Lanka in Dhaka (1999)

In 1998-99, the first edition of the Asian Test Championship was played between India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. India lost to Pakistan and drew against Sri Lanka thus setting up a final between the remaining two nations. The final was hosted by Dhaka, Bangladesh. The host nation soon went on to become a Test nation itself.

Arshad Khan’s 5-wicket haul in the first innings halted Sri Lanka at 231 runs in their first innings. Ijaz Ahmed’s 211 and Inzamam-ul-Haq’s 200 not out saw Pakistan posting 594 runs in what turned out to be their only innings. Wasim Akram and Saqlain Mushtaq then wrapped up Sri Lanka for 188 runs to secure a mega triumph.

1. Australia vs Pakistan in Colombo (2002)

Pakistan are used to playing their ‘home’ Tests in the UAE. However, in 2002, they played their ‘home’ Test against Australia in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The rest of the Test matches of the three-match series were then played in the UAE. The series was shifted out of Pakistan due to a bus bombing incident in Karachi.

Ricky Ponting’s masterful 141 saw Australia posting 467 runs in their first innings. Shane Warne then blew Pakistan away with a sensational spell of 7/94. Pakistan made a comeback of sorts as they skittled Australia for just 127 runs. They then fell 41 runs short of the target of 316 runs as Warne added four more wickets to his match tally.