Remembering a great test innings by Sunil Gavaskar: 221 vs England Oval 1979
June 2, 2017 6:34am CST
Sometimes, we like some cricket matches and some innings so much we never forget them. Hark back to Oval in London, 1979. England played host to the final Test of the 4-match series. England were leading 1-0 after three Tests, thanks to a thumping innings win in the first Test. India desperately needed a win and came quite close to it. In the fourth innings, India were set an imposing total of 438 to win the match. Very few people would have given chance to India to win in such sitaution, and against a bowling attack of Willis, Botham and Hendrick. However, in came Sunil Gavaskar, arguably the best Indian opener to date and one of the finest batsman to have played so far. He started playing beautifully, persevered and played his shots at appropriate times. He put up 213 runs for the first wicket with Chetan Chauhan. Dilip vengsarkar gave him good company, the scoring rate also went up and India reached 366 for 2. I do recall some great cricketing shots being played. However, after some time, Sunil Gavaskar got out for 221 and the asking rate had climbed up. Kapil Dev was promoted up the order to accelerate things, but he was out for a duck. The scoring rate climbed more, and India needed 49 off 8 overs. India ended at 429 for 8, and the match ended in a draw. Remember, that year was 1979, when even One Day Internationals were not the dominant form, and the playing styles were quite different from what they are now- much more slow and steady and conservative shot making. So in a way this fourth innings was like an ODI, and Sunil Gavaskar's role in helping India come close to a remarkable win was outstanding. What do you say? Inputs from Wikipedia and own memory
Well, I think in tests during those days, and before Kris Srikanth joined the Indian team, mostly Chetan Chauhan opened with Gavaskar, and G.Vishwnath used to come 1 or 2 down. Vishwnath was also an attacking batsman who could tear down many bowling attacks.