Perth, 1991: Walking the tied rope
Twenty years to the day, India and West Indies were involved in a tie which lit up Perth in 1991
"It's exactly 20 years for that tie, but I remember each and every bit of it." Former India batsman Praveen Amre knows what he's talking about while referring to the tied one-day international against the West Indies that was part of the B & H World Series in the 1991-92 Australian season.
Pace like fire: WI's Curtly Ambrose in full flight Down Under.
It was his first international game on tour; his maiden ODI away from home and he made the most of it by ending up the second highest score of 20 in a low-scoring game that climaxed in a tie -- the fourth in the history of one-day international cricket.
"Sure, it was a game which was there to be won because the West Indies were 76 for eight at one stage, chasing 127 for victory. But the manner in which we fought back after being dismissed for 126 was remarkable. And our fielding in that game was top-class," recalled Amre. The game ended in a tie with skipper Mohammed Azharuddin diving forward to catch top-scorer Anderson Cummins off Tendulkar, who bowled seam-up. The Indian line-up did not include a spinner on the fast and bouncy Perth pitch.
The West Indies had a formidable batting line-up. It included veterans Desmond Haynes, captain Richie Richardson, Carl Hooper and a young Brian Lara whom More snapped up off Subroto Banerjee (3 for 30) one of his four victims behind the stumps. The Caribbean bowling attack was equally high profile... Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose and Patrick Patterson.
Filling in the role of the fifth bowler, Tendulkar's solitary over was the final one of the game -- two years before he bowled that famous last over in the 1993 Hero Cup semi-final against the South Africans in Kolkata. Sadly, this over has not earned the fame quite like the Eden Gardens one.
More felt proud to be part of two ties in international cricket -- the 1986 Test against Australia being the first. "Like the Chennai Test in 1986, we should have won here, but we couldn't. Ambrose was super with bat and ball. I remember the partnership he had with Cummins (37 for the ninth wicket) which threatened to take the game away. Ambrose hit Kapil for a huge six but a brilliant direct hit by Ravi (Shastri) from mid-off had him run out," recalled More.
"Sachin showed great responsibility in bowling that over which turned out to be the final one of the game. What struck us all was his confidence. He believed he could do anything and then came the super catch which Azhar took at slip to finish the game. Only Azhar could take a catch like that,' added More.
Amre took great delight in his 20 on a difficult pitch. "People had expressed doubts over my ability to play fast bowling. This innings gave me a lot of confidence. The tied result brought great cheer to our camp as we had not won a game since our arrival in Australia. Before this match, we played Western Australia at the WACA ground and the 50-over game was before the lights came on (India were bowled out for 64 and the WA batsmen scored the runs with nine wickets to spare).
"The tied game gave us the boost to do well in the one-day triangular series and we ended up losing to Australia in the best of three finals," said Amre. Greg Chappell, a commentator then, selected Curtly Ambrose as man of the match award for his batting and his two wickets for nine runs in 8.4 overs. "Yeah it was a pretty good performance but my captain thought I was a bit expensive," said Ambrose.
Inputs from Gulu Ezekiel