Ahead of WACA's Ashes swansong, we look back at some of the memorable moments that have lent the historic venue a fabled place in the annals of cricket.
It was December 1979. Australia was playing England at the WACA in the opening match of a three-Test series. The first day's play ended with the host at 232 for eight and Dennis Lillee unbeaten on 11. The next morning, Lillee resumed his innings, not with a conventional willow, but with an aluminium bat! What followed was an argument between players from both camps before Australia captain Greg Chappell convinced Lillee to use a regular blade. The match resumed after almost 10 minutes. To everyone's surprise, the charismatic fast bowler escaped censure for his actions.
Arguably one of the greatest batsmen to have graced the game, Sachin Tendulkar racked up an astounding 100 international centuries during his stellar 24-year career. Among them was the 114 he made at the WACA in 1992 — three years after his debut in Pakistan. The knock came against a hostile attack on a difficult pitch with the ball taking off, alarmingly at times. He pummelled the Australian attack into submission after being promoted up the batting order, thereby providing a glimpse of his prowess.
At the WACA, in 2001, in a Test match against New Zealand, Shane Warne found himself one shy of a maiden Test hundred. Desperate to get to the three-figure mark, the leggie attempted a lusty swipe which was gobbled up by Mark Richardson at deep mid-wicket. The replays, however, showed Kiwi bowler Daniel Vettori's front foot clearing the popping crease by some margin. Talk about tough luck!
Australia batsman Matthew Hayden surpassed West Indies legend Brian Lara's then record individual Test score (375) with a spectacular innings of 380 at the WACA in the first Test against Zimbabwe in 2003. The then Australia captain Steve Waugh and his side formed a guard of honour for the dynamic southpaw, who was mobbed by team-mates and fans as he walked to the changing room.
The Australians had not lost in Perth since February 1997; they had not, for that matter, lost a home Test anywhere since December 2003, and no team from the sub-continent had ever triumphed at the WACA. Moreover, Ricky Ponting’s side had strung together 16 successive Test wins, equalling the mark set by Steve Waugh’s men in 2001. Despite such spellbinding numbers tilting the scales in favour of the host, Anil Kumble, in 2008, led India to a famous 72-run win in Perth, bringing Australia's winning run to a halt. Reminiscing the landmark win, India's leading wicket-taker in Tests later said, "I think the Perth win (2008) probably changed the way Indian cricket looked at playing overseas at that point. Anything was possible. For a foreign team, especially from the subcontinent, to beat Australia in Perth was never heard of. To me that victory will remain very special."
On Day Four of the second Test against Australia, New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor racked up a sensational 290 runs, and in the process eclipsed a 111-year record. The previous highest score by an overseas batsman in Tests in Australia was 287, by England's Tip Foster at the SCG in 1903.
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