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Saturday, March 1, 2014

the sweet experience of Melbourne for Indian Cricket


India can look back with happiness to those olden days of game experience at Melbourne.

One of them was a victory  in Feb 1981 – a Test which was almost sparred by ‘smoke was coming out of my ears and I heard nothing’ comment of Sunil Gavaskar.   In Test No. 895, Indians led by Gavaskar, made 237 with a brilliant 114 by Gundappa Vishwanath.   Lillee scalped 4, Pascoe took 3.  Aussies made a massive 416.  India had the best partnership of 165 when Gavaskar was adjudged LBW to Lillee when he had nicked it on to his pads.  Chauhan went on to make 85 and Indians made 324 – a target of 143 looked simple and Kapil was not fit to bowl with a strained thigh muscle.   But in the dramatic last session Aussie lost 3 wickets for 24.  Ghavri removed Jack Dyson; Wood was out to Doshi and Greg Chappen was out bowled by Ghavri for a first ball duck.   The next morning Kapil dev fired them out with figures of 5 for 28 bundling them out for 83 – one of the lowest movements for Australia.

Chetan Chauhan who batted so well – played in 40 Tests making 2000 odd runs but never made a century, though was closer many a times. Gavaskar had struggled and was not in his usual elements in that tour ~ from a prolific scorer to a lean phase was unacceptable; the pressure was more because of the high standards that he had earlier set.    Chauhan was urged by Gavaskar to walk out and leave the field but the manager  Wing Commander S. K. Durrani, intervened,  and ensured that the controversial dismissal did not spoil the match.  The whole of the Series there was inconsistent umpiring always going against the Indians.   The inexperienced Rex Whitehead, who made his debut in the first Test and stood in all three matches even after Indians protested.  

The first win in Dec 1977/ Jan 1978 was different.  It was a great series in which all the 5 matches produced results.  Indians were led by Bishan Singh Bedi; Australians brought back Bobby Simpson as some key players had joined Kerry Packer and were unavailable for National side.  Aussies secured an early 2-0 lead and the 3rd Test (Test No. 812) was at Melbourne.  Jeff Thomson was at his furious best and Indians straightaway were off to the worst imaginable start losing both the openers without a single run on board.    Mohinder, Vishwanath, Vengsarkar and Ashok Mankad took the score to 256.

Craig Serjeant made 85, while rest Dyson, Coiser, Ogilvie, Simson, Toohey, Rixon went out cheaply and were bowled out for 213.   Chandrasekhar took 6 for 52.         In the second India made an imposing 343 with Gavaskar making 118.  Set an improbable 387, Aussies mustered only 164 giving Indians their first win – a big one at that.  Chandra was the hero with another identical 6 for 52.   The accomplishment of the first win in 12 tests in Australian soil was outrightly due to Chandra’s magical figures of 12 for 104 in the match. 

Those days, an half hour capsule called ‘highlights’ would be telecast few days after the match in the night time and we clamoured seeing the Indians performance on TV – when ‘the slow-motion’ of the action – delivery, catch, run out etc., caught the attention of everybody and were most talked about events.  Only few households had TV sets and people would crowd in those houses to watch those half an hour capsules………

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
PS : circulated to my group earlier and posted here now……

         

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