11 May, 2021

The Last Stand

Sunil Gavaskar ended his career on a grand note.

The Last Stand
March 15 and 17, 1987
Nobody ever began their career quite like Sunil Gavaskar did - with a spectacular 774 runs in his first four Tests. Nobody ended it quite like him either, with an innings - 96 against Pakistan at Bangalore in 1986-87 - that encapsulated his genius perfectly.

After four draws in a row in the five-Test series, the final match was designed to produce a result. The pitch at the Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore, was an under-prepared dust bowl, and there was no question of the match lasting the distance. On a surface that was more a track for a cross-country race than for playing cricket on, the ball's trajectory and bounce after pitching were entirely unpredictable. A mediocre twirler could have spun it square on this wicket; Maninder Singh was unplayable on the first day, and took 7 for 27 as Pakistan was skittled out for 117. India in turn, could not withstand the  double spin attack of Iqbal Qasim and Taufeeq Ahmed, and crumbled like the surface, all out for 145. Pakistan then put together an amazing team effort to hit up 249 - worth twice...

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