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India - England Past encounters, Golden moments for India

Vijay Manjrekar's record aggregate
Partab Ramchand - 04 December 2001

At the start of the 1961-62 series against England, Vijay Laxman Manjrekar was 30 and had been playing Test cricket for 10 years. He had earned a name as probably the best Indian batsman of his time, and the general image of him was that of a very correct batsman with sterling defence and a large repertoire of strokes. But a knee operation midway through the 1959 England tour saw him miss the entire series against Australia in the winter, and in the five Tests against Pakistan in 1960-61, he was not at his best. He had also become a bit bulky and slow on the field, and doubts were raised as to whether the great artist was nearing the end of his career.


Manjrekar, who was the one batsman who could have made runs in such circumstances, now took over the entire burden of the batting. He shielded his teammates from the menace of the two spinners and took most of the strike. Every time the ball did something awkward and this was the rule rather than the exception he had the angle of deviation covered.
Manjrekar quelled these doubts in the most emphatic manner in the five Tests against England. In the first game at Bombay, he led off with 68 and 84. With ML Jaisimha, he added a record 131 runs for the second wicket in the second innings. In the next Test at Kanpur, he got as far as 96 before he was out. In the process, he added 109 runs for the second wicket with Jaisimha and dominated the scoring so much that his runs came out of the 152 made while he was at the crease.

In the third Test at New Delhi, Manjrekar's batting blossomed like a flower in spring. His unbeaten 189 was surely the handsomest innings even this great technician played, and strokes flowed from his bat in gay profusion. He came in at the fall of the first wicket at 121 early in the post-lunch session on the opening day and batted right until the innings came to an end late on the second evening. In making the highest score by an Indian against England surpassing Vinoo Mankad's 184 at Lord's in 1952 Manjrekar hit 29 fours in a stay of 440 minutes. Ted Dexter paid handsome tribute to him in his book 'From Bradman to Boycott,' in which he mentioned that watching Manjrekar bat was an education.

Modest scores (24 and 27) followed in the fourth Test at Calcutta, and when he was out for 13 in the first innings of the final Test at Madras, it seemed that Manjrekar had already notched up his typical knock-of- the-series at the Kotla. But in the final outing, Manjrekar played an innings that was the last word in batsmanship. The pitch was crumbling, India were struggling, and Tony Lock was wreaking havoc.

Manjrekar, who was the one batsman who could have made runs in such circumstances, now took over the entire burden of the batting. He shielded his teammates from the menace of the two spinners and took most of the strike. Every time the ball did something awkward and this was the rule rather than the exception he had the angle of deviation covered. There really was no way the bowlers could get rid of him, and he was dismissed in the only manner that seemed possible run out.

When he came in, the score was 15 for one. When he was out four hours later, the score was 158 for nine. The highest score after his 85 was 17. That classic knock raised his aggregate for the series to 586, surpassing the previous Indian record of 560 held by Rusi Modi and Polly Umrigar.

© CricInfo

[Archive]


Teams England, India.
Players/Umpires Vijay Manjrekar, Ted Dexter, Geoff Boycott, Don Bradman.
Tours England in India

 
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