Who is the only cricketer to have scored a Test century for two countries?
(19 October 2001)
It is unusual, to say the least, for any player to turn out for two different international teams in his Test career. In the case of a South African, however, such outrageous possibilities settle more easily into the record books. Following international isolation in 1970 for the Apartheid policies of the South African government, many players from the Rainbow nation resorted to playing first-class cricket in England and Australia, where the competition reached higher levels of intensity.
One such player, Kepler Christoffel Wessels, played in the Packer series in Australia and then stayed behind to play for Queensland. Excelling in domestic cricket, he was picked for the 1982/83 Ashes series and made his debut in the Second Test in Brisbane. Opening for Australia after England put up a meagre first-innings total of 219, Wessels scored 162 off 343 balls, hitting 17 fours and contributing almost half of Australia's total. His team went on to win the Test by seven wickets.
Ten years later, it was South Africa's turn to benefit from a Wessels century. Playing in the First Test against India at Durban, incidentally also the first Test on South African soil after their re-entry into international cricket, Wessels, captaining his side, scored 118 off 266 deliveries, hitting 18 boundaries in the process. Although the Durban Test was later washed out, Wessels notched up a unique record, scoring centuries for both Australia and South Africa.
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