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In this 16 part series, Arunabha Sengupta captures one special moment from each of the 16 previous Indian tours to England. In the tenth episode, he looks back at Sandeep Patil’s six boundaries in an over off Bob Willis at Manchester in 1982.
There were plenty of magic moments brought about by the all-round genius of Ian Botham. At Lord’s, the iconic star scored 67 and then proceeded to destroy the Indian first innings with five for 46. At Manchester, he hammered the Indian attack to plunder 128 with 19 fours and two sixes. At The Oval, he went further and hit his only double hundred in Test cricket, a fascinating exhibition of arrogance and power hitting as he notched up 208 with four huge sixes.
There were other highlights as well. On the fourth afternoon at Lord’s, Dilip Vengsarkar and Kapil Dev set the hallowed turf on fire with some spectacular batting. The Bombay batsman treated a high quality attack with nonchalant disdain as he passed his second hundred at the ground and went on to equal his then highest score in Test cricket by scoring 157. Kapil Dev took over after that, converting the classy ignited sparks into blistering fireworks with a 55-ball 89. India lost the Test but not before the Mecca of cricket had been treated to some delights of Indian batsmanship.
However, if one magic moment is to be picked from the series it has to be the fourth day at Manchester when Sandeep Patil launched into Bob Willis, dispatching six of seven successive balls into the pages of history.
Patil was making a comeback at the Old Trafford. Some ordinary performances in the previous series, a soul sapping tedium of an English tour to India in 1981-82, had seen him dropped for a while. Now, he walked in to bat on the fourth morning with India in a spot of bother.
Rain delays had extended the England innings into the third day. The hosts had ended with 425, brought to the brink of stagnation through an opening partnership between Geoff Cook and Chris Tavare and then rejuvenated by the swashbuckling Botham hundred. In the 17 overs India batted on the third afternoon, they had been reduced to 35 for three by Willis and Derek Pringle.
After Sunday’s rest, Gundappa Viswanath and night watchman Syed Kirmani carried the score forward, notching half centuries of contrasting styles. However, Botham came back to snare Viswanath and Phil Edmonds castled Yashpal Sharma.
Patil came in with the score on a dicey 136 for five, and started stroking the ball with characteristic authority. At 173, Syed Kirmani’s pugnacious innings came to an end with the persistent Edmonds bowling the little wicketkeeper. With follow on still a distinct possibility, Patil was joined by Kapil Dev. Not exactly the ideal duo to carry out a rescue act.
However, after a brief conference, Patil took his foot distinctly off the accelerator, allowing Kapil the liberty to play in the only way he knew. And as a result, the follow-on as averted within a few minutes. Kapil proceeded to a quickfire 65 with a six and nine fours, from a mere 55 balls, and the hour he was at the wicket produced 96 runs. Patil was a picture of application till then and had just crossed his fifty.As Kapil departed, he resumed the role of the aggressor yet again.
With Madan Lal solid at the other end, boundaries flowed. And then Willis ran in with the batsman on 80.
The over is famously scripted into the cricketing chronicles. There were two cover-drives, two fierce square cuts, one swivelling hook and one flat-batted over the head, the sequence of boundaries broken by a dot ball off the fourth. However, the third was a no-ball, and as a result Willis went for 24 in the over. The fifth of the boundaries took Patil on to his century, the second 50 coming off just 51 balls. By the end of the over he was on 104, the last nine balls having taken him there from 73.
India ended the day at 379 for eight, Patil unbeaten on 129. Unfortunately, this day, which saw 344 runs scored from 93 overs, was watched by only a handful of spectators.
Incessant showers robbed the returning fans of further entertainment as no play was possible on the final day.
England 424 (Geoff Cook 66, Chris Tavare 57, Ian Botham 128, Geoff Miller 98; Dilip Doshi 6 for 102) drew with India 379 for 8 (Gundappa Viswanath 54, Syed Kirmani 58, SandeepPatil 129*, Kapil Dev 65).
(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry.He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)
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