The English off-spinner produced a magical exhibition of flight, turn and bounce to record the greatest bowling figures of all-time. Jim Laker, an English cricketer, played for his country between 1948 and 1959. Laker was an off-spinner who played 46 test matches for England. He is best known for “Laker’s match” in 1956 at Old Trafford between England and Australia where Laker took 19 wickets for England’s victory. He took 193 wickets during his entire career with a bowling average of 21.24; in all first-class matches, he took 1,944 wickets at 18.41.
Laker was the first one to take all 10 wickets in a test match innings, with a ten for 53 score of the Australians. Having also taken 9 for 37 in the first innings, Laker’s match bowling figures were 19 for 90 – a score that still remains unbeaten. The only other cricketer who took 10 wickets is Anil Kumble.
Laker’s record-breaking performance during the 1956 Ashes series was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award in 1956, making him the first cricketer to win this prestigious award. Apart from the Laker’s match, Laker had also attracted limelight when he took 8 wickets for 2 runs at a test trial at Bradford.
No one was expecting history to repeat itself in a proper Test. “The odds would be incalculable,” writes Don Mosey in his book, Laker: Portrait of a Legend. “No one, no matter how fertile his imagination, how burning his ambition, how iron-clad his confidence, could possibly visualise such a double. But Jim Laker did it.”