Fifth Test: England v Australia - Day Four
LONDON - SEPTEMBER 11: Channel 4 commentator Richie Benaud looks on during day four of the Fifth npower Ashes Test match between England and Australia at the Brit Oval on September 11, 2005 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)
Fifth Test: England v Australia - Day Four

Chew-for-Chwenty-Chew. It's the phrase which became synonymous with Richie Benaud in his post playing days.

He might be known more for his commentary by younger audiences, but it was a stellar career from start to finish for one of Australia's greatest ever cricketers.

The man was a high-quality swiss-army knife. Let's go through 22 of his greatest moments.

22. Cricketing family

Before Richie made waves in the international scene, his father Lou Benaud wrote his name into cricketing folklore in 1923 for Waratah Cricket Club, taking 20 for 65. Yep, you read that correctly. Richie's father took 10 for 30, then 10 for 35, bowling out St Mary's Cricket Club single-handedly. 

21. First grade debut at 16

Richie was a child prodigy and developed his deadly leg-spinners under his father's tutelage at Cumberland District Cricket Club (Paramatta District Cricket Club) in Sydney's first grade competition. He made his first grade debut with his father, and the two became a deadly leg-spinning duo.

20. Grade cricket champion.

Benaud played 136 first grade matches over 23 years, accumulating 5709 runs at 40.77 and 364 wickets at 18.62, including 22 five-wicket hauls.

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19. Acrimonious first class debut

Benaud soon found himself in the New South Wales first class team at 18 years of age, making two runs batting and number six, and surprisingly didn't bowl.

18. Skull fracture

Against Victoria in a Second XI match, Benaud was struck above the high, attempting a pull shot off English-born fast bowler Jack Daniel. After facing off against 'Jack Daniel,' Richie had 28 x-rays before the doctors found a crater in his skull. He was not the first human to succumb to an injury against 'Jack Daniel.'

17. First big score

At the Adelaide Oval against South Australia, Benaud achieved his first, first class century on the last over of day two, finishing his innings with 117 in 196 minutes. 

16. Test debut

Although Benaud was averaging mid to low 30s with the bat and high 40s with the ball, he was awarded his Test debut against the West Indies in the fifth Test of the 1951-52 Test series at the Sydney Cricket Ground. 

Benaud scored three and 19, batting at number seven, and took his first wicket in the second innings, dismissing Alfie Valentine and winning Australia the Test by 202 runs.

15. Injured groom

With his wedding the next day, Benaud was struck in the face by South African John Waite fielding at short-gully. Benaud suffered a smashed upper lip and was lucky to escape any severe damage.

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14. 1953 tour of England

Benaud's Test career was on shaky ground before the 1953 tour of England, yet the selectors decided to persist with the leg-spinner in England. Richie failed in the Ashes yet made an impression in Australia's First-Class matches with 97 and 7/46 against Yorkshire.

In the last tour match against TN Pearce's XI, Benaud opened the batting in the second innings and hit 135 in 110 minutes, including nine fours and 11 sixes.

13. Break out summer

With no International touring side in 1953-54, Benaud played eight first class matches amassing 811 runs at 62.38, and took 35 wickets at 30.54. Was this the start of something good?

12. First Test 100

In the last Test of the 1954-55 tour of the West Indies, Benaud joined in the fun of Australia's mammoth total of 8 for 758 off 245.4 overs. Batting at number eight, Benaud made 121 in only 96 minutes, including 18 fours and two sixes. 

11. Second tour of England in 1956.

During his second tour of the British Isles, Benaud wowed the Lord's crowd with 97 runs off only 113 balls, batting at number eight, yet failed again to fire with the ball, with eight wickets at 42.5.

10. Big summer with the ball in 1956-57.

Against the best batters of spin bowling globally, Benaud took 7 for 72 off 29.3 overs against India in Chennai and proved it was no fluke in the Last Test at Eden Gardens with match figures of 11/105. With 24 wickets at 17.66, Benaud proved he could finally be a match-winner with the ball in hand.

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9. Superstardom in South Africa.

Benaud announced himself as one of the best all-rounders in the world with a dominant tour of South Africa in 1957-58. In 18 first class matches, Benaud hit 817 runs at 51.06, including four centuries, and took a South African domestic record of 106 wickets at 19.39. Richie took on a greater bowling demand, sending down 5943 deliveries.

8. 100 runs and five wickets in the same Test.

During the fourth Test of the 1957-58 tour, Benaud achieved the unique feat of hitting 100 runs and taking five wickets in an innings, with 100 at number four and 5 for 84 off 41 overs in the second innings. 

7. Rise to captaincy

Benaud was named Test captain before the 1958-59 Ashes and, like Pat Cummins, led Australia to a 4-0 series win. Benaud also performed with the ball taking 31 wickets at 18.83.

6. Richie Benaud era 1958-1963.

As captain of Australia, Benaud led Australia in 28 Tests with a win-draw-loss record of 12-4-12. Benaud, as captain, hit 816 runs at 22.66 and took 135 wickets at 25.74. By the time his career ended, no one had captained Australia in more test matches.

5. Test Cricket retirement

Benaud announced his retirement at 33-years-of age in 1964.

He finished his 63-Test career with 2201 runs at 24.45 and 248 wickets at 27.03. He became the first Australian to achieve the 2000-run and 200-wicket milestones. 

4. Richie, the journalist.

After retiring from cricket in 1964, Richie jumped straight into Cricket Commentary and Sports Journalism. Benaud was the focal point for BBC's Channel 4 coverage in England and Australia's Channel 9 coverage for the next 40-years. 

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3. Richie, the commentator.

Benaud was distinctive with the microphone in hand.

His mannerisms were quirky, and so was his way of looking at the game.

When Greg Chappell forced his younger brother Trevor to bowl an underarm delivery in 1981, Beanud threw all biases out the window and roasted Chappell on live television. For Richie, Cricket the game was always more significant than the individual. 

2. Benaud's famous cream jacket.

During World Series Cricket, Kerry Packer insisted that Richie wear a cream/white jacket on-air to make him the focal point of the channel nine commentary team. The rest, they say, is history.

  1. 2 for 222.

The phrase 2 for 222 is synonymous with Richie. Benaud's unique style of saying the term is why we celebrate the Legend on February 22nd. Comedian Billy Birmingham, who created the 'Twelfth Man,' loved Richie's accent, and now the phrase has been burnt into the brain of every single cricket fanatic.

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