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West Indies concedes 68 extras in an innings against Pakistan

Roberts (front), Croft (third), Garner (fourth): what went wrong that day © Getty Images
Andy Roberts (front), Colin Croft (third), Joel Garner (fourth): what went wrong that day? © Getty Images

Four fearsome fast bowlers and an outstanding wicketkeeper combined to concede a record count of 68 extras — a world record at that time. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the day when bowlers splayed and a ‘keeper missed for close to a day.

Kensington Oval used to be a Caribbean fortress in those days. In fact, they did not lose a single Test on the ground between 1934-35 and 1994 — a stretch of over 59 years. There was no question of them losing to Pakistan at home in 1976-77 when they were on the rise as a side, but something dramatic almost ensured that things went against them.

It could have been yet another drawn Test: Clive Lloyd’s men, armed with Andy Roberts, Vanburn Holder, Colin Croft, and Joel Garner (along with Maurice Foster’s off-breaks) kept on denting the Pakistan line-up after Mustaq Mohammad chose to bat. The usually flamboyant Majid Khan carved out a 250-minute 88, but Pakistan had seemed to be in discomfort of sorts when Wasim Raja walked out at 207 for five.

Raja, perhaps the finest batsman against West Indian fast bowlers at their prime, played a belligerent innings, scoring 117 not out in 260 minutes with 12 fours and a six, bringing the crowd to its feet: he got quality support from Imran Khan, Saleem Altaf, Sarfraz Nawaz, and Wasim Bari — the last four batsmen — and helped take the score to 435.

Holder’s injury (he could bowl only four overs) did not help West Indies’ cause: the others bowled their hearts out (Garner and Croft, both debutants, combined to take seven wickets between themselves), but it was certainly not one of their better bowling performances.

Then Pakistan hit back: both Imran and Sarfraz bowled their hearts out and reduced Pakistan to 183 for five when Deryck Murray, the West Indian vice-captain, walked out to join his captain. The two decided to put their heads down and set about business, and added 151 runs in 155 minutes.

Lloyd eventually scored a regal 157 in 290 minutes with 21 fours and three sixes, and after his departure some enterprising hitting from Garner helped take the score to 421. Holder did not bat, and Pakistan walked out to bat with a 14-run lead: they were 18 without loss with Majid on 14 and Sadiq Mohammad on five at stumps.

Deryck Murray had the misfortune of gifting away © Getty Images
Deryck Murray had a bad day behind the stumps against Pakistan in 1976-77 at Kensington Oval, Jamaica © Getty Images

When sundries made news

Sadiq fell to Croft soon next morning, but Majid and Haroon Rasheed did some consolidation, and though Majid fell after a while things look under control with Rasheed and Mushtaq still there at 102 for two. Then Roberts ran through Rasheed’s defence.

Five runs later, Croft clean bowled Asif; then went Mushtaq as a Roberts delivery took the edge and thudded into Murray’s gloves; young Javed Miandad did not last, and neither did Imran. Holder’s absence was not felt as Lloyd kept on rotating Roberts, Garner, and Croft with clinical efficiency and reduced the visitors to 158 for nine: they were only 172 runs ahead.

Then suddenly all went wrong. Line and length went awry; poor Murray dived around — but there was little he could do, so erratic the bowlers were; the big men overstepped a lot; catches went down (Raja — hero of the first innings — was dropped four times); and somehow, somehow, Raja and Bari hung on. The more the extras piled up, the more furious the bowlers became, and more wayward.

Both Wasims settled down, and then — the runs started flowing, off the bat or otherwise. The partnership moved along, and did so at an alarming pace. Raja reached his fifty, but more significantly, Bari reached there as well, and the partnership added 133 in 110 minutes (then a new Pakistan last-wicket record stand) before Raja was eventually caught by Garner off Foster: his 71 had included five fours and two sixes, while Bari’s unbeaten 60 had ten fours in it.

Amidst all this, unknowingly, West Indies managed to register the rather humiliating world record of conceding the most extras in an innings, going past England’s ‘feat’ of 57 extras against New Zealand at Eden Park in 1929-30. The record has been bettered thrice since then:

Most extras in an innings

Extras

Culprits

Beneficiaries

Venue

Season

76

India

Pakistan

Chinnaswamy

2007-08

74

England

West Indies

Queen’s Park Oval

2008-09

71

West Indies

Pakistan

Bourda

1988

68

West Indies

Pakistan

Kensington Oval

1976-77

65

Sri Lanka

Zimbabwe

Harare

1994-95

However, in terms of extras as a percentage of the total innings, the West Indian performance on that day has no match. In fact, they seem to be peerless in this aspect, hogging the top three spots.

Highest percentage of runs by extras in an innings (50 or more extras)

Extras

Total

%

Culprits

Beneficiaries

Venue

Season

68

291

23.4%

West Indies

Pakistan

Kensington Oval

1976-77

53

248

21.4%

West Indies

Australia

Bourda

1990-91

52

252

20.6%

West Indies

England

Trent Bridge

1980

65

319/8

20.3%

Sri Lanka

Zimbabwe

Harare

1994-95

55

288

19.1%

Pakistan

India

Faisalabad

1989-90

What about balls per extra, then? The West Indians conceded 68 extras in 67 overs — easily a record till now.

Most balls bowled per extra conceded in an innings (50 or more extras)

Extras

Balls

Balls / extra

Team

Opposition

Ground

Start Date

68

402

5.91

Pakistan

West Indies

Bridgetown

1976-77

50

411

8.22

Australia

England

The Oval

1934

62

628

10.13

South Africa

Sri Lanka

Johannesburg

2001-02

71

732

10.31

Pakistan

West Indies

Georgetown

1988

60

620

10.33

England

West Indies

Kingston

2003-04

The afters

Chasing 306, Gordon Greenidge fell early, but Fredericks and Richards hung around gamely, adding 130 for the second wicket. Mushtaq slowed down the pace, and once Fredericks got frustrated and lost his wicket trying to go for the chase the collapse started: backed up efficiently by Saleem Altaf, Imran and Sarfraz then tore into the West Indian line-up. Wickets kept tumbling, and West Indies suddenly found themselves down at 217 for eight with half-an-hour and 20 mandatory overs left.

Holder eventually had to show up, and had to keep the fast bowlers at bay in an extremely level-headed display against the fast bowlers. Mushtaq must have rued the absence of a fourth fast bowler; he tried Miandad’s leg-breaks, but with no success. Then, finally, with less than an hour left, Imran ran through Holder’s defence.

Croft walked out; Mushtaq tried everything; the hawks moved closer and closer to the bat as the shadows lengthened; but Roberts and Croft were inseparable. Finally, when stumps were called, West Indies finished on 251 for nine: the Test was saved.

On a side note, they remained 55 short of the target — 13 less than the number of extras they had conceded.

What followed?

 

-          Pakistan were beaten black and blue by Croft in the second Test at Queen’s Park Oval. Bowling with menacing pace he picked up eight for 29 — still the best figures by a West Indian fast bowler; Fredericks batted with panache in each innings and West Indies won by six wickets.

-          The fast bowlers skittled Pakistan for 194 at Bourda, but they came back strongly after conceding a 254-run lead: Majid led the way with 167 and Pakistan registered 540, which meant that the Test resulted in a draw.

-          The fourth Test at Queen’s Park Oval saw an amazing fightback from Pakistan: after Asif Iqbal’s 121 and Majid’s 92 took Pakistan to 341 some excellent bowling from Imran and Mushtaq restricted the hosts to 154. Set to chase 489, the hosts collapsed to 222.

-          With all to play for the teams moved to Sabina Park, and Greenidge settled matters with innings of 100 and 82. Croft once again bowled with fire, and barring Asif’s 135 there was not much resistance: West Indies won by 141 runs to clinch the series.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

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