When Pataudi lit up Leeds in 1967.

Following is an extract from the report of famous English cricket writer EW Swanton, who watched Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi's sixth and last Test century at Leeds in 1967

June 1967. It is no small matter for a Test country such as India to reach their highest score in five tours to England. To have done so after following on 386 runs behind touches the realms of fantasy. That was the measure of India's achievement today, and all honour to their captain, first and foremost, and to Hanumant Singh for leading their side out of the dark shadows into the bright sunlight of respect handsomely restored.

It was hard to believe as one watched the Nawab that six years ago, for all practical purposes, he lost the sight of his right eye. The great partnership today was that between Pataudi and Hanumant Singh. In two hours and forty minutes these two added 134 for the fifth wicket when, if either had failed, all must have been over by tea time or earlier. As it is, the game is alive still, and after what has occurred who will predict the moment of its ending?

Hanumant and Pataudi came together at 228 for 4 an hour before lunch knowing that India needed to get another 158 to make England bat again. The stand began carefully, but as soon as Close called for the new ball the batting gained in assurance and power of stroke.

The partnership ripened as afternoon grew warmer, and despite the deployment of England's bowling array of six. Each batsman passed beyond 50, their 100 partnership was signalled in two and a quarter hours, and Close seemed more or less at the mercy of events when Hanumant went to drive a widish one and sliced it into D'Oliveira's hands at slip. Illingworth, again, had done the trick.

It was now a matter of whether Pataudi could find the partners to perpetuate the game into the fifth day. The next of them, Saxena, lasted half an hour.

Now, with an hour and three-quarters to go and with four wickets left, India had their noses in front. From then to the close Pataudi monopolised the scene, taking runs more or less as he wanted and so looking after the tail-enders that England, during this last phase, could only dislodge two of the four men left.

Just before the end a second slip to Higgs would have had a chance from Pataudi, who scored four instead. Further, the bounce of the ball was even more inclined to come about half-stump high. This suited both batsmen with their facility in the cut and the forcing stroke off the back foot. There was an elegance about the play that was in harmony with the perfection of the weather.

You May Like



    Leave a Reply