In a staggering statistical quirk, New Zealand's Tim Southee finds himself sharing a batting record with the legendary Sachin Tendulkar and in all likelihood will surpass him soon.
Southee's ascent in the sixes charts in Tests saw him equal Tendulkar on Thursday after the New Zealander struck his 69th maximum during New Zealand's first innings on second day of the opening Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.
Southee waltzed down the pitch to send the ball flying straight over bowler Dhananjaya de Silva's head for his 69th six.
Tendulkar played 200 Tests and batted 329 times, while Southee is currently playing his 66th Test having received 96 opportunities with the bat.
Southee, primarily known for his swing bowling, is a handy lower-order batsman. His batting style makes for exciting viewing and as he fancies himself with the big hits. To his credit, Southee possess a lovely bat swing coupled with clean striking and the supreme ability to clear boundaries at will.
His astounding skill to tonk the ball long has also earned him the tag of 'Sixer Southee' among cricket fans.
For a player, who has batted mostly at N0. 8 or lower, Southee averages a decent 17.97 in 66 Tests with a strike rate of 88.16. He has five fifties to his name as well.
Southee's career-best Test innings of 77 off 40 balls came in only his second innings of Test career in 2008, which included as many as nine sixes.
Southee is currently placed 17th in the list of all time six-hitters in Test cricket and another big will see him equal the likes of Younis Khan and Clive Lloyd and he is just four sixes away from matching Ricky Ponting's tally.
AB de Villiers, Sanath Jayasuriya, Ian Botham are some of the former cricketers that Southee has already surpassed in the list while among current players Ben Stokes, David Warner and Ross Taylor trail him.
If we discount Chris Gayle, who last played a Test in 2014 and his career in the longest format is all but over having been denied a place in the West Indies squad to face India, Southee tops the chart among current cricketers with David Warner and Angelo Mathews behind him with 55 sixes.
Among Kiwis, Southee is third behind Brendon McCullum, who is also the overall leader with 107 sixes, while Chris Cairns is second with 87 maximums to his name.
Still only 30, if Southee hangs around long enough and gets enough opportunities to bat, the possibility of him finishing as the leading six-hitters in Test cricket is very much on the cards.
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