BISHAN BEDI (PERTH, 1977-78)
One of the great ironies of Bedi’s career was that his best match figures of 10-194 came at a pace paradise, the WACA. In 1977-78, in the Second Test against Bobby Simpson’s team, Bedi took two five-fors.
There has been no greater master of the variations and subtleties of finger spin, which Bedi applied without any change to his action that a batsman could discern. The ball has never done much spinning in Perth, and Bedi relished the opportunity to show us what flight and loop could do.
It was a game of heroics from batsmen and bowlers on both sides. Australia chased down the 339 target with only two wickets to spare. With nine runs to go, Bedi reminded them who they were dealing with, removing Toohey and Rixon. The game was already inside its final ten overs, and for a panicky moment, Australia saw the prospect of victory slip. India lost, but after a thrashing in Brisbane, the closeness of that Test, thanks to Bish’s left-arm orthodox mastery, gave India the confidence they needed to pull off victories in Melbourne and Sydney to level.