Who was the first bowler to claim five hat-tricks in international cricket?

The first bowler to claim five hat-tricks in international cricket, of any description, was former Sri Lankan right-arm fast bowler Separamadu Lasith Malinga. He did so in the third of three Twenty20 International (T20I) matches against New Zealand in Pallekele on September 6, 2019. In fact, he not only dismissed Colin Munro, Hamish Rutherford and Colin de Grandhomme with the third, fourth and fifth balls over the third over of the match, but also Ross Taylor with the sixth, thereby taking four wickets in as many balls for the second time in his career.

The first time achieved the feat – and with it, of course, his first One Day International (ODI) hat-trick – against South Africa in an International Cricket Council (ICC) match in Providence on March 28, 2007. On that occasion, he took the wickets of Shaun Pollock, Andrew Hall, Jacques Kallis and Makhaya Ntini in four successive deliveries during the ‘death’ overs of the match. For the record, Malinga achieved his three other ‘regulation’ hat-tricks against Kenya in Colombo on March 1, 2011, against Australia in Colombo on August 11, 2011 and against Bangladesh, again in Colombo, on April 6, 2017.

Renowned for his distinctive, authentically roundarm – but, nonetheless, legal – bowling action, which led to his nickname, ‘Slinga Malinga’, the former Sri Lankan captain was a particularly potent force in limited overs cricket. He was a fine exponent of the yorker or, in other words, a delivery that pitches in, or close to, the blockhole, thereby preventing the batsman from lifting the ball into the air and, hence, over the boundary. Like any effective death bowler, he also bowled slowed-than-usual deliveries, to keep the batsman guessing at a time when he was looking to play aggressively.

Where and when did Ben Stokes make his Test debut for England?

Benjamin Andrew ‘Ben’ Stokes, a.k.a. ‘Stokesy’, made his Test debut for England against Australia in the second Test of the 2013/14 Ashes series at the Adelaide Oval on December 5, 2013. Australia won the toss and elected to bat, declaring their first innings closed at 570-9 after tea on the second day. Stokes took his first Test wicket when Australian captain Michael Clarke, on 148, chipped to James Anderson at short midwicket, and finished the innings with bowling figures of 18-0-70-2. With the bat, he added just one to England’s first innings total of 172 before being trapped lbw by Mitchell Johnson in his second over after lunch on the third day.

Clarke decided not to enforce the follow-on and, in the second innings, Australia scored 132-3 declared, with Stokes recording bowling figures of 7-3-20-0, setting England a target of 531 runs. In the face of almost inevitable defeat, Stokes batted for just over two hours before being caught by Clarke, off the bowling of Ryan Harris, for 28. However, with the last four England second innings’ wickets falling with 12 overs, the visitors were bowled out for 312, giving Australia victory by 218 runs.

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand on June 4, 1991, Stokes moved to Cockermouth, Cumbria as a 12-year-old boy. Having made rapid progress through the ranks, he eventually made his first-class debut for Durham against Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in the traditional curtain-raiser for the County Championship season at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on March 29, 2010. Of course, nowadays, Stokes is a mainstay of the England Test team, having captained the side since April, 2022; at the last count, he had 89 matches, 5,602 runs and 193 wickets to his name.