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Nostalgia

Botham steals the Golden Jubilee limelight
Partab Ramchand - 10 December 2001

As part of its golden jubilee celebrations, the Board of Control for Cricket in India invited England, Indiaís oldest opponent, to play a Test match at the Wankhede stadium in Bombay in February 1980. The game was preceded by a grand assemblage of Indian Test players, past and present. It was indeed a momentous occasion, complete with a fireworks display at the Brabourne stadium, which was also the venue of a gala dinner.


After all these celebrations, the commemorative Test match got underway. Anticlimactically, it proved to be a one-sided affair, which was a bit of a surprise for England, who were on their way back from a 3-0 drubbing in Australia. India, on the other hand, had experienced a very successful home season, beating both Australia and Pakistan by 2-0 margins.
Among those who attended the special occasion was the oldest Indian cricketer then present, 84-year-old Cota Ramaswami. Others included two members of the 1932 team to England, Naoomal Jeoomal and Lall Singh. The assembled veterans were introduced to the gathering in front of the pavilion on the opening day of the Test. Mementoes were presented to the captains of the two teams, Mike Brearley and Gundappa Viswanath. SC Griffith represented the Marylebone Cricket Club, and the Deputy British High Commissioner in India also attended. The BCCI chief M Chinnaswamy made the welcome speech. The Board also published an informative volume to observe the historic occasion.

After all these celebrations, the commemorative Test match got underway. Anticlimactically, it proved to be a one-sided affair, which was a bit of a surprise for England, who were on their way back from a 3-0 drubbing in Australia. India, on the other hand, had experienced a very successful home season, beating both Australia and Pakistan by 2-0 margins. The Test was also billed as a contest between Kapil Dev and Ian Botham, the two great all-rounders then being at their youthful peaks. Just as England won the game easily by eight wickets by the fourth afternoon, Botham also took the individual honours with a superb all- round display.

Viswanath won the toss in his second and last Test as India captain but, before the end of the first day, the home team had been bowled out for 242. Not one batsman reached 50, with Sunil Gavaskar, 49, the top scorer. Bothamís swing proved too hot to handle, and he finished with six for 58.

Indiaís seam bowlers - Kapil Dev, Karsan Ghavri and Roger Binny - made deep inroads when England batted. At 58 for five, the visitors were tottering. Wicket-keeper Bob Taylor and Botham, however, changed the complexion of the game, adding 171 runs for the sixth wicket. Botham, who dominated the scoring, was finally out for 114; he batted 206 minutes and hit 17 fours. Taylor scored 43, and England were able to clinch a first-innings lead of 54. Kapil Dev (3 for 64) and Ghavri (5 for 52) were the successful bowlers for India.

The English rearguard action knocked the fight out of the Indian camp, and the home team at 58 for six were facing defeat inside three days. Botham had taken five of the wickets, making him the first to score a century and take 10 wickets in a match; he also became the first to score a hundred and take five wickets in an innings on three occasions.

Yashpal Sharma (27) and Kapil Dev (45) ensured that the match went into a fourth day with a seventh-wicket stand of 44 runs, but India were ultimately all out for 149 on the penultimate morning. Botham finished with seven for 48, giving him match figures of 13 for 106 ≠ a record haul for India≠England Test matches and a record for any Test in Bombay. But even with this performance, Botham had to share honours with Taylor, who established a world Test record by holding 10 catches in the match. His seven dismissals in the first innings also equaled the world record set by Pakistanís Wasim Bari the previous season against New Zealand.

England hit off the required 96 runs without any loss, Graham Gooch making 49 and Geoffrey Boycott 43. Two Indians passed important personal landmarks; Syed Kirmani became the first to complete 100 dismissals for India in his 42nd Test, while Viswanath crossed 5000 runs in Tests, only the second after Gavaskar, in his 69th Test.

In the ultimate analysis, the talking points of the match were neither Englandís surprisingly easy victory nor the performances of Botham and Taylor, but two incidents involving, directly or indirectly, the umpires. Indeed, the sixth-wicket partnership between the two England players could have been terminated at 85. Umpire Hanumantha Rao upheld an appeal against Taylor for a catch by Kirmani. The batsman indicated that he had not played the ball. Viswanath, fielding at first slip, confirmed that Taylor had not touched the ball and persuaded the umpire to revoke his decision. Taylor continued batting and put on the partnership that had a considerable impact on the outcome of the game. In the second innings, Boycott ignored the umpire when he gave him out in response to a similar appeal and continued with his innings. It was surprising that the fielders did not ask him to leave the crease or that the umpire did not assert himself.

But then, perhaps the Indians did not wish to create unpleasantness in what was a celebratory game, even if it was an official Test match. Indeed, both teams were quite tired, and this was evident in the match. India had played 12 Tests in about four months, and England had just completed an arduous and unsuccessful tour of Australia. Considering the special occasion, the attendance for the match was disappointing. One interesting sidelight of the match was that the rest day was brought forward to the second day because of a solar eclipse.

© CricInfo

[Archive]


Teams England, India.
Players/Umpires Ian Botham, Cotar Ramaswami, Lall Singh, Mike Brearley, Gundappa Viswanath, Billy Griffith, Sunny Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Karson Ghavri, Roger Binny, Bob Taylor, Yashpal Sharma, Geoff Boycott.

 
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