On February 18, 1969 Doug Walters followed his 242 in the first innings with another hundred in the same Test. Abhishek Mukherjee looks back at the first instance of a batsman scoring a double-hundred and a hundred in the same Test.
“So let’s go back to Melbourne
In the shadow of Don Bradman
To those battles with the Windies, let’s take ‘em on again
To the SCG in Sydney
Where you were king and always will be
Doug you’ll always be a legend
Like you were back then” – from A Legend Like Doug by Ian Quinn (album: River on the Road, 2007).
Not every performance evokes a song, especially after 38 years. Doug Walters’s superlative batting against the West Indies at Sydney in 1969-70 managed to do so. And it wasn’t only about the runs or records — it was also about the superlative quality of the innings, the aggressive batting against an attack comprising of Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith, Garry Sobers and Lance Gibbs, the sheer brilliance of the strokeplay, the freshness and exuberance that so defined the man. Even Bradman, who had held one of the records Walters went past in that innings, wrote a congratulated him, emphasizing on ‘the pleasing manner in which you [Walters] have been getting runs’.
Ironically, Walters might have missed the Test altogether. While taking out the garbage from his apartment at Parramatta, he slipped, and fell down a staircase of about 30 steps, landing on each step with his backside, ending up with a badly bruised backside. To add salt to the wound, he was sacked as the New South Wales captain the very next day, and went on to be replaced by his close friend Brian Taber.
Walters was in serious pain, but an X-ray revealed that there no fracture, and he recovered after undergoing regular physiotherapy. He soon passed the fitness test, and was included in the team for the Sydney Test despite having a sore back.
Australia were leading the series 2-1 and all set to win the Frank Worrell Trophy. Walters’s contribution in the series had been phenomenal up to this point: after missing the first Test at Brisbane, he had scored 76 at Melbourne; 118 at Sydney; and 110 and 50 at Adelaide. Little did he, or anyone else, imagine that he would go on to better this performance in the final Test.
Day One: Lawry and Walters build
Sobers won the toss, and for some reason, asked Australia to bat on what looked like a flat track. Hall went past Keith Stackpole’s defense after an opening partnership of 43, and Sobers followed with the wickets of Ian Chappell and Ian Redpath in the same over. Walters walked out to join his captain Bill Lawry with the score on 51 for 3.
As Lawry held fort in the dour manner that was so characteristic of him, Walters began playing his strokes. When Hall pitched one up, Walters unleashed his trademark cover-drive. When Griffith bowled short he did even better, punching him through cover off his back-foot; when the fast bowlers bounced, he hooked with fierce power; and later in the day, he completely dominated Gibbs with his repertoire of cuts, pulls and drives.
The West Indian fielders almost heaved a sigh of relief as the umpires called stumps with the score on 268 for three with Lawry on 117 and Walters on 122. He had already overtaken Lawry. The partnership was worth 217 now. Both batsmen had registered their third hundreds of the series. The West Indies had already begun to pay for dropping Lawry at 44 and Walters at 75.
Day Two: Walters goes past Bradman
Lawry and Walters carried on from where they had left off. The 300 of the partnership came up, and soon the Australian fourth-wicket partnership of 388 between Bradman and Bill Ponsford seemed to be under threat. Lawry was slow in the first session, allowing Walters to take over the scoring.
Both Hall and Griffith bowled with ominous pace for what was the dusk of their illustrious careers. They often bounced the ball, but Walters swatted them comfortably. Despite his fluent strokeplay, Walters remained showed immense concentration, and made the most of Sobers’ blunder of putting them in. He soon went past his previous career-best of 155, and looked all set for many more.
Then, with his score on 151, Lawry had a moment’s lapse of concentration and was yorked by Griffith. The pair had put up 336, a fourth-wicket record for Australia against West Indies (beating Lindsay Hassett and Keith Miller’s 235 by a comfortable margin). Lawry had already equaled Neil Harvey’s tally of 650, the highest series total by an Australia against West Indies.
Unperturbed by Lawry’s dismissal, Walters kept on toying with the strong West Indian attack. Sobers set a defensive field against him, and Walters picked up sharp singles; when Sobers spread out the field, Walters hit over the top. Soon he brought up his double-hundred, and then went past Bradman’s record of 223 for an Australian against West Indies.
Walters finally fell for 242 when Gibbs spun a ball through his defense and hit his off-stump. He had faced 412 balls, had played for eight hours, and had hit 24 boundaries. After Walters’s departure, Eric Freeman, Taber, and John Gleeson all made merry with the bat, and Australia were 583 for eight at stumps. The Frank Worrell Trophy was as good as won.
Day Three: Australia takes complete control
Both Taber and Gleeson missed their fifties marginally, but they managed to add 71 for the ninth wicket. Australia finished with a mammoth 617.
Roy Fredericks and Joey Carew gave West Indies a solid start of 100 for the first wicket, and at 154 for one, West Indies seemed to be on course with a long batting line-up to follow. However, it was then that Alan Connolly broke through. In a short burst, Connolly removed Rohan Kanhai, an uncharacteristically slow Fredericks, and Garry Sobers. Three more wickets fell in quick succession (Connolly removed Seymour Nurse as well), and West Indies were soon reduced to 193 for seven.
Clive Lloyd held fort, though, with Griffith for company. West Indies were 233 for seven at stumps, 386 runs in arrears. A follow-on at this stage seemed inevitable.
Day Four: Walters gets his record
West Indies folded for 279 on the fourth morning. Lloyd was last out for a fighting 53. Ian Chappell, the new vice-captain after Barry Jarman’s retirement, suggested Lawry that they had cornered West Indies after the 340-run lead, and should enforce the follow-on. “No, Chappelli, I’m going to bat on…give ‘em 900 to get”, was Lawry’s response, and he went on to bat again in the six-day Test.
News came out that Hall and Griffith were both dropped from the West Indies squad to visit England later that year. This infuriated the duo, and the fact that Lawry had decided to rub it in further by batting again only made things worse. The fact that Freeman had bounced against the West Indies tail earlier in the day did not improve their moods.
Hall removed Stackpole and Chappell early, and Griffith accounted for Lawry (though not before he went past Harvey’s record series tally against West Indies; he extended it to 667). At 40 for three Australia still looked safe, but if they collapsed, West Indies still stood with a fighting chance. This was when Walters joined Redpath.
Redpath was struck on his hand, arm, and chest by the fast bowlers, who were unleashing their fury on the Australian pair. According to Ashley Mallett, Griffith ‘appeared to be bending the elbow and letting fly’. However, Walters, with his incredible hand-eye coordination, not only swayed from the intimidating bowling, but also counterattacked, hitting Hall and Griffith all over the huge Sydney Cricket Ground after he was dropped twice — at three and six, and Redpath was also dropped on three.
Hall and Griffith both had a chance to Mankad Redpath, but both of them let him go with warnings (Griffith had Mankaded Redpath at Adelaide earlier in the series to cause a lot of controversy). At the other end, Walters reached his fifty, equaling Jack Ryder’s Australian record of six fifties in six Test innings.
Hall and Griffith had to be taken away once they were exhausted, and Sobers had to introduce spin. The pressure was released almost instantly, and the pair began to open up. The stand went past 100, and then 150. Walters also went past Lawry’s record of 667 in the series, set earlier in the day.
Hall and Griffith were brought back into the attack with Walters just past 80. Griffith let loose a lethal bouncer that only a batsman of Walter’s phenomenal reflexes could avoid. The ball came off the pitch at his face so fast that Walters had only a millisecond to turn his face away: he hurt his hamstring in the process, and the ball grazed his forehead.
And then, just before stumps, Walters brought up his hundred — and became the first cricketer ever to register a double-hundred and a hundred in the same Test. Redpath remained not out on 96 and Walters on 100 at stumps. Australia were 239 for 3, 579 ahead.
Day Five: West Indies fight a futile cause
Walters fell for 103 (taking his series tally to a record 699) early in the day (the pair had put on 210), while Redpath scored his maiden Test hundred, going on to score 132. McKenzie scored a 34-ball 40, and Lawry finally declared at 394 for eight, asking West Indies to score 735 runs.
Sobers, coming out at 30 for three, flogged the Australian bowlers mercilessly. He scored 113 off 126 balls with 20 fours, and Nurse also fought well, reaching 100 just before stumps. However, West Indies ended the day at 303 for seven, requiring an impossible 432 on the final day.
Day Six: Australia clinch the series
Though Nurse and Griffith added 67 for the eighth wicket, Nurse was eventually bowled by Gleeson for a 204-ball 137. The last three wickets fell for one run, and West Indies were bowled out for 352. Australia won the Test by a humongous 384 runs, and claimed the series 3-1 after only 43 minutes of play on the last day.
Walters’s name was etched in the annals of cricket history forever. Never one for records, Walters commented “I didn’t realise that I was the first one to get 200 and a hundred in the same Test,” and added “I was quite surprised that it hadn’t been done before.”
Brief scores: Australia 619 (Doug Walters 242, Bill Lawry 151, Eric Freeman 56; Wes Hall 3 for 157, Charlie Griffith 3 for 175) and 394 for 8 declared (Ian Redpath 132, Doug Walters 103; Garry Sobers 3 for 117) beat West Indies 279 (Joey Carew 64, Clive Lloyd 53; Alan Connolly 4 for 61, Graham McKenzie 3 for 90) and 352 (Seymour Nurse 137, Garry Sobers 113; John Gleeson 3 for 84, Graham McKenzie 3 for 93) by 382 runs.
(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)
First Published: February 18, 2013, 11:18 am