VIDEO: Winston Davis derails the Australian batting line-up in World Cup 1983

Injury forced Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner out of the West Indies playing XI ahead of their crucial World Cup 1983 encounter against Australia. The Australian camp did breathe a sigh of relief that two of the most fearsome bowlers were missing out. Little they knew what a replacement; an unknown quantity named Winston Davis would eventually do to them.

On this day, in 1983, Davis, then aged 24, and only in his second ODI and World Cup debut, registered one of the greatest spells in ODI cricket at Leeds. The game began on June 11 and defending champions West Indies, who were invited to bat, put up 252 on the board. It was Larry Gomes’ patient 77 and Faoud Bacchus’ brisk 47 that helped them to the total. The innings also received a late boost, thanks to Michael Holding’s quick 13-ball unbeaten 20. ALSO READ: Winston Davis: 10 little-known facts about the unfortunate West Indies pacer

The wicket that deteriorated due to rain, misbehaved on June 12. Australia received early blows when Kepler Wessels was cleaned-up by Andy Roberts and a Holding bouncer soon struck Graeme Wood on his head. He was forced to retire hurt and was driven to hospital with a concussion. Relieved from the lethal duo of Roberts and Holding, Skipper Kim Hughes and David Hookes relished the change in the bowling and feasted on the young Davis. He did get Hughes to edge one to slip but Australia were soon cruising at 114 for 2. They were going over seven per over and the innings run-rate was touching six.

Bowling down the slope was not working for Davis and he responded to the change of ends in style. A dramatic collapse ensued. Yallop top-edged one to Holding on fine-leg and Hookes edged a beauty to the keeper. Davis then went on to account for the wickets of Allan Border, Ken MacLeay, Geoff Lawson and Dennis Lillee, as Australia were bowled out in the 31st over for 151. Davis’ last six wickets came conceding only 14 runs and with figures of 10.3-0-51-7, Davis forced himself to the record books, registering the then best bowling figures in ODIs.

Had Davis played in any team other than West Indies, he would have played more than 50 internationals. In the year 1998, an accident left Davis paralysed from the neck down after suffering spinal injuries when he fell from a tree. For the last 18 years, he has been on a wheelchair.

Life may not have been kind to Davis but this incredible feat at the world stage in Leeds has found its place in the annals of the great game.

Brief Scores: 

West Indies 252 for 9 in 60 overs [Larry Gomes 78 (153), Faoud Bacchus 47; Geoff Lawson 3 for 29] bt Australia 151 in 30.3 overs [David Hookes 45 (45); Winston Davis 10.3-0-51-7] by 101 runs.

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sports marketer, strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)