Every once in a while, cricket lovers are treated to a test series that is a perfect amalgam of all that is wonderful about this game of uncertainties. Memorabilia from these series is highly prized because it is tangible evidence of cricket history otherwise present only in film and memory. Take a look at five must-have test series memorabilia that cricket fans would love to have in their cabinets.
This cricket bat carries the signatures of Ricky Ponting and his marauding men that played in the 2008-2009 home series against South Africa. Back then, the men wearing baggy green were sweeping aside all the competition, though Australia ended up losing the 3-test series, 2-1. The Proteas managed to blunt the firepower of Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson; however, the Kangaroos could not cope with the raw pace of Dale Steyn, ably assisted by old warhorse Makhaya Ntini.
A real prize for any cricket aficionado, this is a framed photograph of the Australian team that played in the second test of the "Bodyline" series in Melbourne. The men posing in this picture, warriors from another age, include some of the brightest stars in Australian cricket's firmament - Stan McCabe, Clarrie Grimmett, Jack Fingleton, and of course, Don Bradman. Long before the time of the all-conquering pace quartet of the Windies, Jardine had put into practice the ploy of targeting the batsman's body rather than the stumps. His weapon was Harold Larwood. This was the only test that Australia won in this series, as England took home the urn after playing cricket in a manner that threatened diplomatic ties between the two nations. Souvenirs such as these make memento hunting such a pleasurable activity.
After the epic Ashes series of 2005 that was played in England and won by the home team, the two teams met Down Under. The Aussies restored order with a 5-0 "whitewash" of the Poms. This was spin legend Shane Warne's farewell series. He had announced his retirement from test cricket a few days before the start of the fourth test in Melbourne. The urn was with the Australians and Warne wanted to become the first bowler in the history of the game to take 700 wickets. Warne achieved this in front of ecstatic home fans and made it a Boxing Day test match to remember. This is what this signed and framed photo of Shane Warne commemorates. It's a unique piece that also features a piece of the shirt that Warne wore when he reached the magic number.
This was the second match of the Australia - India series of 2012. The series pitched an Indian team with its star batsmen at the end of their illustrious careers against an Australian side that had entered a transitional phase, with Gilchrist, McGrath, and Hayden having walked into the sunset. Australia decimated India in all four matches of the series and Michael Clarke, a.k.a. Pup, emerged as an able leader. This signed photograph celebrates Clarke's mammoth triple century, as well as the highest score by a batsman at the S.C.G.
The 1936-37 Ashes series between the two traditional rivals has gone down in the annals of cricket. It was the first series in which the team losing the first two tests managed to come back and win the next three. Australia achieved the feat, thanks to the stupendous batting efforts of the maestro, Don Bradman. The writing pad in question must have been a fairly common item of that time. Today, this extremely rare piece that somehow managed to survive stands as a link to that series. The cover of this pad features the tour program. This is an item that deserves to become a family heirloom.