On April 9, 1972 Glenn Turner and Terry Jarvis put up 387 runs for the first wicket at Georgetown. Abhishek Mukherjee looks back at the fourth-highest opening partnership of all time.
You’d rarely come across a more mismatched pair than Glenn Turner and Terry Jarvis. Jarvis, a salesman by day, was an exuberant character off the field and a strokeplayer with the bat and an outstanding fielder. Turner, on the other hand, was a thorough professional, single-minded in his accumulation of runs, and couldn’t possibly think of doing anything but batting – and batting for hours.
They were like chalk and cheese. And yet, on that day at Bourda, they came together to put up one of the most humongous opening partnerships of all time.
The series – so far
New Zealand, to their credit, had held fort against the West Indies, with the series leveled at 0-0 after three Tests. West Indians, who were desperate for a win, underwent a thorough makeover, and roped in the opener Geoff Greenidge and the off-break bowler Tony Howard, both Test debutants. However, they probably played a wrong card in getting an extra batsman in on the shirtfront track – in the form of the third debutant – a diminutive batsman called Alvin Kallicharran.
Turner, on the other hand, had scored 202 against President’s XI, 223 in the first Test, and 259 against Guyana and was looked in menacing form. The other batsmen supported him well, and the bowlers often contributed with crucial wickets, enabling the Kiwis to look at the mighty West Indians in their eyes throughout the tour.
The West Indian innings: Kallicharran’s ton
Garry Sobers won the toss and elected to bat, and possibly went to sleep. Roy Fredericks and Greenidge gave West Indies a solid start, but the New Zealand seamers – Bob Cunis, Bruce Taylor, and Bevan Congdon, kept on pegging away at the wickets. West Indies were reduced to 244 for 6, but the new kid on the blocks batted brilliantly on his debut. It rained on Day Two, and Sobers declared the moment Kallicharran reached his hundred, a few minutes before lunch, with the score on 365 for 7.
The attrition begins
Turner and Jarvis batted out the few minutes before lunch, hold fort against Vanburn Holder and Sobers, reaching the interval at 11 without loss.
After lunch they took fresh guards, and batted on. And on.And on.And on.To add to Sobers’ woes, Holder had caught a bout of flu, and remained unavailable for a significant part of the day. He brought on Clive Lloyd first change – and soon resorted to using Hedley Howard and David Holfordfor very, very long spells.
The New Zealanders were hell benton occupying the crease for hours. They also played their strokes, but were unwilling to take even the slightest risk in the process. Turner reached his fifty in 160 minutes, and in five more minutes, New Zealand brought up their hundred.
Turner looked invincible, and Jarvis, having never scored a hundred before, grew in confidence with every passing over. Sobers even got Greenidge to bowl his rather innocuous leg-breaks; Greenidge bowled a few full-tosses, but Turner and Jarvis were plainly not interested in accelerating at the cost of taking any risks.
New Zealand ended Day Three at 163 without loss, with Turner batting on 87 and Jarvis unbeaten on71, both looking ominously hungry for more runs. They had virtually batted themselves into safety at the end of the day.
Turner and Jarvis, Jarvis and Turner
Holder was back the next morning, but Sobers couldn’t separate the New Zealand opening stand. They simply seemed unmovable. Jarvis gave a chance when he survived a possible run out on 85, but barring that, the duo looked generally unperturbed. Turner reached his hundred at noon from 320 minutes with eight boundaries. The crowd was sparse, but they cheered in unison.
Jarvis, on the other hand, missed one from Lloyd when on 92; they ball sped past Mike Frindlay and reached the fence. He should have been awarded four byes, but the umpire awarded him runs, despite Jarvis sportingly gesturing that he had missed the ball. Jarvis brought up his hundred soon after, in 363 minutes, and New Zealand went to lunch at 246 without loss.
Turner upped the ante, if very slightly, after lunch. The pair soon set a new record opening partnership for New Zealand, going past the 276 set by Stewie Dempster and Jackie Mills against England at Wellington in 1929-30. As more and more records tumbled, Turner reached his 150 in 428 minutes, and New Zealand brought up their 300 in 457 minutes.
Jarvis, too, reached his 150 – in 486 minutes – and by the time the Kiwis left for to tea, the only record left to be broken was the world-record opening partnership of 413 set by Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy [set at Madras in 1955-56].
Sobers brought on Holford after tea, who bowled round the wicket and acquired sharp turn. By now the pair was exhausted from the Guyana heat (they had been on the field for almost four days now), and Turner dropped to his knees every now and then.
And then, when Holford flighted one, Jarvis tried to drive him, but didn’t quite manage to reach the pitch of the ball: the shot ended in a slice, and Greenidge rushed in from cover to complete the catch. Jarvis had scored 182 in 541 minutes (facing 555 balls) with 19 fours and a five, and the partnership was worth 387 – the second-highest opening partnership of that time, and the fourth-highest across all Tests. It would remain Jarvis’ only Test hundred.
The rest of the Test
The journalists criticised Bevan Congdon for not going for the kill, but the captain did not declare the innings – and neither did he feel like accelerating. He guided Turner to his fourth double-hundred of the tour, though, in 553 minutes with 18 fours. At stumps New Zealand were 410 for 1 with Turner on 210 and Congdon on 4.
There was still some interest left in the Test – mostly to see whether Turner would go past Sobers’ 365 not out [scored at Kingston in 1957-58]. However, just before lunch, Turner, exhausted after batting 704 minutes (and fielding for over two days), tried to play Holford against the turn, missed the line, and was out leg-before for 259 in 759 balls. He had hit 22 fours.
Congdon still batted on, and crawled to an unbeaten 61 in 215 balls before a farcical declaration at 543 for 3, with a lead of 178 runs. Fredericks and Greenidge played out time with an unbeaten stand of 86. The last three overs of the Test were bowled, rather fittingly, by Turner and Jarvis.
The series was eventually drawn 0-0, and Turner finished the series with 672 runs at 96.00 with two double-hundreds. On the entire tour, he scored 1,284 runs at 85.60 with four double-hundreds.
Brief Scores: West Indies 365 for 7 decl (Alvin Kallicharran 100*, Geoff Greenidge 50, Clive Lloyd 43, Roy Fredericks 41; Bruce Taylor 3 for 105) and 86 for no loss (Roy Fredericks 42 not out) drew with New Zealand 543 for 3 dec (Glenn Turner 259, Terry Jarvis 182, Bevan Congdon 61 not out).
(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He generally looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – though not as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the sport with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers that cricket has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in. He can be followed on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ovshake and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42.