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When ‘The Demon’ Frederick Spofforth claimed first-ever international hat-trick in 1879

When ‘The Demon’ Frederick Spofforth claimed first-ever international hat-trick in 1879

Apart from claiming the first-ever hat-trick, Spofforth was also the first bowler to take 50 wickets in Test cricket.

‘The Demon Bowler’, the menacing name given to Frederick Spofforth by himself. The 6’3 Australian fast-bowler was feared by Englishmen due to his accuracy and speed. The bowler has also been claimed to be the inventor of swing bowling, or swerve, as it was known back then. However, the thing that etched his name in cricket history happened in 1879, when he took cricket’s first hat-trick.

Having already played a Test series in 1877, Spofforth returned to England for a one-off Test. Winning the toss, England decided to bat first, not knowing their impending doom. A threatening Spofforth came in and sent opening batter George Ulyett back for a duck on the second ball of the match.

He was assisted by teammate Frank Allan, who claimed the next two poles. However, Spofforth was far from done. He sent Monkey Hornby back, and England were 4-14. But this was just the beginning. With England 4-26, he ran in and clean-bowled Vernon Royle, Francis MacKinnon, and Tom Emmett on three consecutive balls to claim cricket’s first-ever hat-trick.

Spofforth ended the match with 13 wickets to his name. He claimed cricket’s first hat-trick and gave Australia their first-ever series win, home or away.

The many records of Frederick Spofforth

Apart from being the first bowler to take a hat-trick in cricket, Spofforth had many other records to his name. The pacer was the first bowler to take 50 international or test wickets.

Astonishingly, out of his 94 wickets in the Test, 50 were bowled out. The pacer was considered to be the best in the game through his 17-year cricketing career (1874–1891) and was highly effective against one of the best Test batters of all-time, WG Grace.

For his contributions to the game, Spofforth was posthumously inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 1996 and the ICC Hall of Fame in 2009.

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