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Monday, March 20, 2023

India Vs Australia - decider at MA Chidambaram Chepauk Stadium

Decider at Chepauk 22.3.2023 – some history !! 

Tomorrow  afternoon starts the 3rd ODI, the decider of the 3 match series at Chepauk.  .. .. before you read further, can you identify this Cricketer ?

 After the low scoring the 1st match, India was thrashed at Vizag.  Indian score of 117 is their   fourth-lowest in ODIs at home. Their lowest is 78 all out against Sri Lanka in Kanpur 1986, followed by 100 all out against West Indies in Ahmedabad 1993 and 112 all out against Sri Lanka in Dharamsala 2017.  

It was not only defeat but the way it was handed out -  234 Balls remaining off 300,  when Australia reached the target, making it the biggest margin of victory - in this category - for any team against India. New Zealand had recorded the previous best when they beat India with 212 balls remaining in Hamilton 2019. This is also the third-biggest ODI win for Australia in balls remaining.  

So there is lot at stake for today’s match at Chepauk – don’t get carried away by explanations of six gardens that existed and all that – here is some History.  


In 1681 a ‘Garden-house”” was completed for the use of the Governor in the site now occupiel by the General Hospital and Medical College, That house was destroyed by La Bourdonnais when he occupied Madrad in 1746. In  1753 a new garden-house in Triplicane was acquire from the executors of Mr. Luis de Medeiros. The house was a large one with a frontage of about 130 feet and stood in a rectangular compound laid down in the Italian style about 400 yards long from east to west and 85 yards wide. That house was the nucleus of the present Goyernment House.  

At the time spoken of, the roads which now bound the Park did not exist. The Triplicane High Road ran north without deviation up to the Government house Bridge and passed within 50 yards of the House.   Additions were made to the compound and the Park from time to time. In 1758 the Government House was occupied by the French Count de Lally when besieging Madras. He pulled down its verandahs, destroyed private houses near it, and burned the village of Chepauk.  The house was put in order again in 1762 and was much improved between 1786 and 1789 when Sir Archibald Campbell was the Governor. The second Lord Clive, however, found it inadequate, either as a residence or as a place for holding State entertainments. Extensive alterations and improvements in the house were carried out under his auspices between 1800 and 1802, and the Banqueting Hail, which stands by the side of the main house, was formally opened in 1802.  

Something extracted from The Madras Year book 1924 – official commercial and general directory of the Madras Presidency compiled by HOnble Diwan Bahadur LD Swamikannu Pillai, printed by the Superintendent, Government Press priced at Rs.7, a princely sum those days.   

The book further states that Madras Cricket Club stood at Wallajah Road, Chepauk and had entrance fee of Rs.25 !! – annual subscription of Rs.40 for playing members and Rs.30 for non-playing members.  Its President was  H.B. Lord Willingdon.  Politically the boundaries of what existed as Chepauk division was – Coovum river in the North, east by Sea, South by Pycrofts Road (presently Bharathiyar Salai); west Triplicane High Road, Wallajah Road & Mount road.   

In 1859, Madras Presidency acquired Chepauk palace in an auction – a few years later obtained Govt permission to build pavilion at the palace grounds to Madras Cricket Club. The pavilion was reconstructed in 1892 and was utilized till 1982 when it was demolished as part of the stadium renovation.  Understand that a couple years ago, the lease period of the stadium was extended by the Tamil Nadu government for 21 years from 2015. Again in recent years, it has undergone major renovation  and is new for today’s match to be played under flood lights.

The  stadium thus has existed for century +  and the first match of the Ranji Trophy was held on 4 November 1934 between Madras and Mysore at Chepauk. MJ Gopalan  bowled the first ball to N Curtis.  

Chepauk stadium …  MA Chidambaram stadium to be precise.  We have seen so many first division matches, local tournaments, Buchibabu, Ranji, Duleep, Deodhar trophy matches and then Tests (Pongal Tests !) ..   in all it has hosted 46 one dayers !!   

The first ever ODI played here was Reliance World Cup on Oct 9, 1987.  A match to remember for that opening stand between Sunil Gavaskar & Krish Srikkanth (83) and the sixer hitting Navjot Sidhu.  Then  Kapil Dev's sportsmanship – one of  Jones's two sixes, in his 39 from 35 balls, had been signalled as four; but between innings Kapil concurred with the Australians' insistence that the ball cleared the boundary.   India's target was increased by 2 seemed insignificant when India raced past 200 for the loss of only two wickets. McDermott's first four overs went for 31 runs. Closer to finish -  India, with four wickets in hand, needed just 15 from the last four overs; when the last over began, the requirement was 6, with the last man, Maninder Singh, taking strike. He managed two 2s, but was out with India short by a solitary run !!  

222 deliveries only were  bowled in Visakhapatnam, the second-fewest in a completed men's ODI hosted by India (excluding shortened games). The shortest was between Kenya and New Zealand during the 2011 World Cup in Chennai, which lasted only 191 balls.  

Looking forward to a good match and an Indian win ! The man at the start is Karun Nair who has played only 6 tests – totaling 374 runs with a triple ton (303*) at Chepauk in test 2241 at Chepauk in 2016.  Only Virender Sehwag has scored more runs than him in a single innings at Chepauk.  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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