The Aussies might be quite used to knocking over batsmen at the WACA , a graveyard for the batsmen in their own backyard which has brought out some canny fast bowlers, but at times they didn’t do it in a traditional way, and often these incidents have turned out to be the start of a very ugly turn of events.
One such example is the burly fast bowler Merv Hughes, from the hot southern state of Victoria.
Fruitfly, as he was lovingly called by his teammates, made his test debut at the Adelaide oval against India in 1985. It wasn’t a great start for the ‘big’ guy as he bowled 38 tireless overs, reaping almost no rewards in his 1/123, but his transformation into a an imposing speedster, capable of leading the attack came in the 1988-89 series against a strong West Indies side.
“Would you like me to bowl a piano and see if you can play that“. said the big Merv as the English captain Graham Gooch played and missed him a few times in an Ashes test match. Such was the liveliness of his character.
Coming back to the West Indies series, the Frank Worrel Trophy got underway at Brisbane, where the West Indies beat the Aussies by 9 wickets , then travelled to Perth for the 2nd test. Batting first, the Windies made 489, thanks largely to the pair of Sir Viv Richards and Gus Logie, for dragging them through with scores of 146 and 93. Merv was the pick of the bowlers with a five wicket haul, but hardly any one realized that he had picked 2 wickets in 2 deliveries in two different overs, that of Curtly Ambrose and the last wicket of Pat Paterson. Merv Hughes was on a Hatrick.
The Aussies then gave their customary reply, as they got 395 runs on the board, and then the Windies openers walked out to the middle for their second innings. As the Big Merv had the ball, he came steaming in, and pitched the ball outside off stump, it then darted in to trap Gordan Greenidge plumb in front. Hughes had completed his Hatrick, 3 balls, 3 overs and 2 days was what it took to get him there.