Free State v Boland at Bloemfontein, CSA Provincial Three-Day Challenge

On December 17th, 1986, in Huntingdon, England, a 35 year old woman received the first triple organ transplant: new heart, new liver, new lungs.

On the same day, on the other side of the world, in Kanpur, India, Mohammed Azharuddin got to 199 in a cricket match against Sri Lanka before being called out LBW.

The former is probably a more fascinating topic for exploration, but today I will concentrate on the latter, as Limited Overs continues its series on the 199s in Test Cricket.  (Part 1 here.)

Azharuddin’s knock came in India’s first innings, on the 2nd day of the match;  he batted for 555 minutes, and the match eventually ended in a draw.

It was the first match of a three match series, a series that India eventually won 2-0, winning the next two matches by an innings and 106 runs and an innings and 67 runs. (Note that Sri Lanka had only been playing tests for four years at the time.)

Also putting up big scores for India in that match were Sunil Gavaskar (176) and Kapil Dev (163.)

Azharuddin had long partnerships with both men during his knock: 163 with Gavaskar and 272 with Kapil Dev. (There was also a 19 run partnership with none other than Ravi Shastri.)

The match took place at Green Park in the densely populated and smog ridden city of Kanpur, India.

The ground:

The geography lesson:

The ground seats 45,000, was established in 1945, and has hosted 22 tests: the first in 1952 versus England (England won by 8 wickets) and the most recent was in 2009 versus Sri Lanka (India won by an innings and 144 runs.)

Up until recently, it was known to produce rather dour draws, but the pitch has been relaid and is a bit of a batsmen’s paradise, and no longer does the lifeless pitch produce lifeless draws: Of the 14 tests held there between 1960 and 1986, only two produced a winner; while of the five tests held there between 1996 and 2009, four produced a winner.

Mohammed Azharuddin himself, was quite the batsmen. Cricinfo described him as: “a Michelangelo in the midst of housepainters.”

The 199 was his highest test score, and he also played in 99 tests. A frustrating end to his knock at Kanpur, and a frustrating end to his test career (I won’t go into too much detail, but it seems as though there was a wee bit of match fixing going on near the end there.)

Over those 99 tests, he scored 6,215 runs, including 22 tons, with an average of 45.03. He also took 105 catches.

He was captain of India for most of the 1990s, winning 14 test matches (a record at the time) and 103 ODIs (still a record.)

In 1991 he was named Wisden’s Cricketer of the year, and after his forced retirement he entered politics and is currently representing Uttar Pradesh for the Indian National Congress party.

The highlight of his test career came in his debut series against England in 1984-1985, where he had hundreds in three consecutive test matches: 110 in the first innings at Kolkata, 105 in the second innings at Chennai, and 122 in the first innings at…Kanpur.

Tomorrow, another segment of The 199 Club.

********************************************************************

Back on the pitch:

Yesterday I watched so much Test cricket…it was a cricketing paradise. I watched New Zealand v Zimbabwe, Australia v India, AND Pakistan v England.

That last match was unexpected, as Willow only has the rights, supposedly, to show the match in Canada, but when I flipped over to Willow.tv at 11:45 CST last night, there was the match preview, live and in color. And at promptly midnight out walked Misbah and Co., and I was able to watch Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad bowl out Pakistan’s tail before wising up and heading to bed.

Meanwhile, in Adelaide, India continue to capitulate, despite a lovely ton for Kohli, who looks to be the real deal; while in Napier it was New Zealand’s day, ending at 331/5.

All three tests were a joy to watch, but I really need to start getting more sleep.

Until next time.

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This entry was posted in 199 Club, Cricket, Test Cricket. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Free State v Boland at Bloemfontein, CSA Provincial Three-Day Challenge

  1. Pingback: East Zone v West Zone at Valsad, Duleep Trophy | Limited Overs

  2. Pingback: East Zone v West Zone at Valsad, Duleep Trophy (#3) | Limited Overs

  3. Pingback: Australia v India at Sydney, 1st T20I | Limited Overs

  4. This is one of the earliest Test matches I clearly remember.

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