Tony Mann, the former Australia wrist-spinner, who became only the second nightwatchman in history to score a Test century, passed away in Perth after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 74.
Mann played four Tests for Australia, in which he took as many wickets, but it was with that ton that he left behind an indelible mark on his international career, which lasted just over a month. And it was on his home turf, at the Western Australia Cricket Ground, where he achieved the landmark.
The knock, against Bishan Singh Bedi’s India, came after Mann had been sent out at No.3, when the Indian captain had snared John Dyson late on the fourth evening, to set Australia back early in their chase of 339.
Mann returned on the final day, and strung together 139 for the third wicket with David Ogilive, after the opener, Craig Serjeant, departed for 12. He eventually fell for 105, caught behind off Bedi. But his efforts had set Australia up, as they sealed a dramatic victory, by two wickets.
Mann also played 80 first-class matches for Western Australia, making 2544 runs at 24.22, including two centuries and 11 fifties, alongside 200 scalps at 34.54, including five five-wicket hauls.
"We are deeply saddened to learn of Tony's passing," Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts said. "Tony was a strong contributor to the local community in Western Australia and Australian Cricket generally. He was an excellent allrounder - a left-hand bat and legspin bowler - through four Tests and 80 first-class matches.
"Many fondly remember him for his feats in the 1977-78 Perth Test against India when he became only the second man to score a century as a nightwatchman. On behalf of the entire Australian cricket family, we send our condolences to Tony's family."
"Tony was a fantastic servant of the game, from a player to the head of cricket here at the WACA and going on to coach in a number of our programs,” WACA CEO Christina Matthews said. “He played a big part in the careers of many WA players, including the likes of Adam Gilchrist and Brad Hogg and was never shy to drive everyone to be better.
"On behalf of everyone at the WACA and the WA cricket community we send our deepest sympathy to the Mann family."
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