Sunday, December 11, 2016


Test Match #2239: India vs England, Mumbai
Virat Kohli and Jayant Yadav put on a double-century stand (215 unbeaten at Lunch on Day 4), grinding down the English bowlers to put India into a commanding position in the 4th Test of the series. During the course of the innings they created a new Indian record for the highest 8th wicket partnership in Test cricket, breaking the old record of 161 between Azhar and Kumble made in 1996 against South Africa at Eden Gardens.

And what a game that was. Still have distinct memories of the game. Inspite of the fact that I was in school and only saw the highlights at the end of day's plays. And while the scorecard  says, South Africa won by a huge margin of 329 runs, this game still holds lots of wonderful memories for the Indian fan.

South Africa had galloped ahead and India were playing catch-up throughout the game. The openers put on a double century opening stand but were reined in by Venkatesh Prasad, probably the gentlest of medium-pacers, who took a 5-wicket haul in a space of five overs. This man had the ability to produce something special out of nowhere. (Never forget "THAT" response to Aamer Sohail!!!).

In response, the Indian top order collapsed. Nothing unusual in those days specially in the face of the top quality fast bowling. Azhar had to retire hurt, while Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, VVS (the last 3 in their 1st year of Test cricket) were all dismissed cheaply. A follow-on seemed imminent before Azhar returned and in Kumble's company just hammered everything in sight. Eden Gardens has witnessed many a spectacular performance and this certainly was one of them. Our class was updated of the score by the teachers and also one enterprising fellow who had smuggled in a pocket radio. The score certainly moved at T20esque pace with Azhar having taken a particular liking to the debutante Klusener. The highlight was Azhar hammering Klusener for 5 boundaries in a single over. 

Source: Cricinfo
The partnership brought India back into the game. Azhar recorded the fastest Test century by an Indian batsman. When he got going, it wasn't a flash in the pan but a lightning storm. But it soon got over. Meanwhile we willed on Kumble to get to his first Test century but that wasn't to be. (Kumble did eventually score one a decade later).

As is wont with the Indian fan, the partnership flashed hopes of an unlikely victory. But it wasn't to be as the ruthless South Africans put in a big score in the second innings and gave us an even bigger target in the second. And Lance Klusener had his redemption picking up 8 wickets in the second.

But for that glorious afternoon when Azhar got going and Kumble stayed on, What a wonderful passage of play that was. The ones which stay in your memory even twenty years later!

P.S. Jayant Yadav got to his maiden Test hundred and the partnership ends at 241.

P.P.S. End of Amit Mishra's Test career? Or he makes another comeback?

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