England allrounder Moeen Ali has put his name in Test cricket’s record books alongside Jacques Kallis and Ian Botham after becoming just the third player to record 1000 runs and take 30 wickets in a calendar year.
With a flick through mid-wicket for two off India paceman Ishant Sharma late on day one of England’s fifth Test against India, Moeen moved his first-innings score to 113 and ticked his 2016 run tally into four digits to join the two great Test allrounders in the 1000-run, 30 wicket club.
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The freewheeling Botham was the first player to achieve the feat for England in 1982, when he complimented his 47 scalps at an average of 37 with 1095 runs at nearly 50.
And the legendary Kallis, considered by many as the finest allrounder Test cricket has seen, became the second man to do it when he amassed 1120 runs at 70 and 35 wickets at 27 in 2001.
Botham played 13 Tests in 1982, Kallis played 14 in 2001 while Moeen has had a couple more matches to notch the milestone, having played in all 17 of England’s Tests in 2016.
With all sides bar Australia, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka having played their final Tests of the year, Moeen finishes with 1078 runs in 2016 and is the fifth player to pass 1000 runs after Joe Root’s 1477 runs for the year, Jonny Bairstow (1470 runs), Alastair Cook (1270) and Virat Kohli (1215).
Pakistan vice-captain Azhar Ali (950 runs for the year) and Australia skipper Steve Smith (914) could yet join them during the upcoming Boxing Day Test.
Despite England’s woes on their 0-4 series defeat on the subcontinent to the International Cricket Council’s top-ranked Test outifit, Moeen has led the way with the bat for the tourists, striking two tons on the ill-fated tour to bring his 2016 century count to four.
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Botham managed three triple-figure knocks in ’82, including his highest Test score of 208, against India at The Oval, while Kallis made just two hundreds in 2001, unbeaten knocks of 157 and 189 against Zimbabwe.
Overall, it’s been a standout year for allrounders in the game’s longest format, with no less than five players - Moeen and his England teammates Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes, plus India spin duo Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja - passing the 300-run, 30-wicket mark in 2016.
Ashwin, the game’s No.1 allrounder on the ICC charts, became just the seventh player in Test history to complete the dual accomplishments of 50 wickets and 500 runs in a calendar year during India's third Test victory against England in Mohali.
While there were middling results Alastair Cook’s side in 2016, England underlined their unmatched versatility by having their trio of Test allrounders finish on the verge of a unique achievement.
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Never before have two – let alone three – players from the same side completed the double of 500 runs and 40 wickets in a calendar year.
All told, the England threesome all fell short of a feat to make the cricket stats boffins happy; Moeen was three wickets shy, Stokes seven while Woakes, who missed the final Test of the India series, had 41 wickets for 2016 but was seven runs short of 500.
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