A 1990 portrait of Tom Moody © Getty Images

On 27 July, 1990, the Gulliver-like Tom Moody bludgeoned the Glamorgan bowling attack at Swansea to score a century in just 26 minutes. Prakash Govindasreenivasan has more.

At 6’7’’, Australia’s Tom Moody was an intimidating character. Back in 1990, Moody was picked as one of the two foreign recruits for the English country Warwickshire — along with Allan Donald, the fiery South African pacer.

The Moody Show

On July 27, 1990, spectators at the St Helen’s ground in Swansea witnessed a spectacular pyrotechnics from the West Australian recruit as he smashed the ball to all parts of the ground.

It was Moody’s first tryst with what was termed as ‘declaration bowling’ wherein the opposition deliberately bowls badly in order to enable the opposition to score quickly and declare their innings.

Warwickshire were 16 for two and had a lead of 72 runs when the final day’s play began. At 81 for three, Moody walked out with the opposition skipper looking to give away quick runs and force a declaration.
“I’d heard about it before but I’d never been part of it,” Moody later recalled.

“I said to Andy [Lloyd] when I was next in, ‘How do I approach this? I’ve never experienced this before’.”
The reply from the captain was to go out and get as many runs as quickly as possible. Moody obliged.
In the next 11 minutes, he raced away to his half-century. The sacrificial lamb from the Glamorgan camp was the part-time off-break bowler Phillip Cottey whose six overs fetched 49 runs. It was indeed a sight to watch the towering Moody going after a bowler who was just over five feet.

It wasn’t the first time that the venue had seen some riveting cricket happen on the field. It was in fact, the same venue where Sir Garfield Sobers had slammed 36 runs in a six-ball over by Glamorgan’s Malcolm Nash.

Moody was striking the ball with very similar brutality. After bringing up his first milestone in 11 minutes, he took 15 more to reach triple figures. Through this innings, Moody entered record books as his knock came in just 26 minutes, almost a good 10 minutes more than the previous record held by Percy Fender of Surrey. It was a record that remained intact for close to 70 years before Moody swooped in with a faster knock.

Moody fell agonisingly short of breaking another record, but he was rather happy not to do so. He ended up taking two deliveries more than David Hookes’s 34-ball 100 against Victoria in 1982. Moody’s knock consisted of seven sixes and he would have perhaps broken Hookes’s record had time not been wasted in fetching the balls that he planted outside the park.

“It would have been a bit terrible taking that off Hookesy. His century was in a real situation,” he said, in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.

What followed

With Warwickshire’s second innings score at 212 for three and Moody unbeaten on 103, a declaration finally came along with Glamorgan needing 283 runs to win an epic encounter between the two sides.

Glamorgan’s skipper Alan Butcher led from the front and scored a century, while half-centuries from Mathew Maynard and Viv Richards helped their side earn a famous five-wicket victory. In a match that saw Warwickshire opener Andrew Moles score a double ton and three other players scoring centuries, Moody’s ability to come down heavily on the scripted bad bowling from Glamorgan bowlers took the cake.

Moody may not have ended up in the winning side, but this effort helped him prolong his stay in the English county and build on further. Later, he also received the Walter Lawrance Trophy for the fastest century of the season.

Brief scores:

Warwickshire 443 for 3 decl. (Andrew Moles 224, Andy Lloyd 104) & 212 for 3 decl. (Tom Moody 103, Andrew Moles 83) lost to Glamorgan 373 (Hugh Morris 106; Robert Croft 74*; Adrian Pierson 5 for 101) & 283 for 5 (Alan Butcher 116, Viv Richards 65*) by 5 wickets.

(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is a reporter with CricketCountry. His Twitter handle is @PrakashG_89)