You have read it right. Yes, it is possible, and it has already happened in International Cricket.
This feat of the most unusual hat trick in cricket, where the three wickets fell in three different overs, but still counted in as a hat-trick, is achieved by Merv Hughes, an Australian Fast bowler.
Merv Hughes played for Australia – 53 Tests and 33 ODIs between 1985 and 1994, picking up 212 and 38 wickets in the formats, respectively.
And, this rarest of rare kind of a three-act play in cricket was picked up by Hughes during his team’s second Test against West Indies in December 1988, in Perth.
Let’s see how this happened.
A Hat trick spread over 3 Overs and 2 Innings
Courtney Walsh, a West Indian fast bowler, became the first-ever cricketer to achieve a hat trick featured across 2 Test innings when he dismissed the last Australian wicket in the first innings and started with two-wicket balls in the second innings. That was the first incident in 110 years of Test cricket where a hat trick was split over innings. Here’s the scorecard for that match.
But the Merv Hughes hat trick that came one month later was something exceptional, a rarest of rare kind of incident which turns out to be our first article of the amazing cricket facts series.
Merv Hughes was a crowd-favorite, popularly known for his mustache, and had an impressive run-up and delivery action. But what added a more impressive fact to his career was this rare three overs split hattrick against West Indies.
Here’s the timeline of how things happened:
Match: 2nd Test [Australia vs West Indies]
Date: December 3, 1988
Ball 121.6 of West Indies, Ist Innings: Curtly Ambrose was caught behind of Merv Hughes delivery. WI Score: 440/8 (122 Overs)
The next over was bowled by Tim May, the lone spinner in the team, who removed Gus Logie, the 9th West Indian wicket, in that over. At the end of the 123rd Over, the WI score was 449/9.
Ball 123.1: Hughes came back to bowl his 37th over and removed Patrick Patterson in the first ball of that over. Final Score: 449/10.
Hughes ended with the first innings bowling figure of 130/5 in 36.1 overs.
Then it was Australia’s turn to bat. The Aussies batted until the final session of the next day, with a few overs of the day remaining.
Ball 0.1: Merv Hughes with wickets in the last two balls he bowled in the first innings, came into bowl the first over of the West Indies’ 2nd innings. It was a quicker delivery directed right at the stumps, which removed Gordon Greenidge with an L.B.W appeal.
Hughes ended the 2nd innings with 8/87 and finished with an impressive match figure of 13/217. Still, West Indies ended on the winning side of that match, with Merv Hughes called the Player of the Match.
So this is how the Merv Hughes unusual hat-trick was completed, not only in 3 different overs but also in 2 different innings and spread over 2 days.
Watch the video of the hat trick here:
Thanks for reading!
You can read more of our series of amazing and untold cricket facts here.