On this day in 1998: Mark Taylor pays tribute to Bradman in a unique way

The former Australian captain Mark Taylor played an instrumental role in Australia’s dominance in Test cricket. The left-handed batter made his debut against West Indies in 1988 and soon cemented his place in the Test squad. He scored 839 runs at an impressive average of 83.90 in six Test matches during his first Ashes series, which proved the second-highest score after Don Bradman’s 974 runs in the 1930s Ashes.

Taylor, playing as an opener, soon became the crucial figure in Australia’s red-ball team under the leadership of legendary captain Allan Border. He was appointed captain after Border’s retirement in 1994 for both red-ball and white-ball teams. Taylor went on to score 7525 runs in 104 Test matches at an average of 43.5 with the help of 19 centuries. He created a world record for most catches in Test cricket by any non-wicketkeeper with 157 grabs, which was later broken by India’s Rahul Dravid.

His career-best knock came against Pakistan, when he equalled Don Bradman’s 334-run record, on October 17, 1998. Bradman had set the highest Test innings score by an Australian cricketer by scoring 334 runs in 1930 and it took nearly 60 years to reach that historic number.

After guiding Australia to a big win in the first Test match by an innings and 99 runs, Taylor re-created history in the second Test match at Peshawar. While batting first, Taylor played the longest innings of his career and batted for two days. On the third day, he crossed the 300-run mark and then broke Bob Simpson’s 311-run record, the highest score by any Australian captain.

In the final of the day, he Taylor equalled Bradman’s historic 334-run score and remained at the level at the end of the day. Fans were emotional and waiting for the next day to see if Taylor breaks Bradman’s record or not. But to everyone’s surprise, Taylor declared the innings and opted to share a record with Bradman. Fans and media praised the Australian captain for respecting Bradman’s contribution to cricket.

Taylor scored 92 runs in the second innings and the match resulted in a draw after a strong response from Pakistani batters. Taylor won the Australian of the year 1999 award after retiring from international cricket after the 1998-99 Ashes. After almost five years, Matthew Hayden broke Bradman and Taylor’s 334-run record by scoring 380 runs against Zimbabwe in 2003, a then-world record.