BHAGWATH CHANDRASEKHAR (THE OVAL, 1971)

Inside Sport - - First XI -

He’s the only bowler to give Viv Richards night­mares, ac­cord­ing to the Blaster him­self.

Dur­ing a win drought for In­dia in the 1960s and ’70s, Chan­dra was of­ten the star of the spin quar­tet. We wrote last month of his with­ered bowl­ing arm, and how he turned it to an ad­van­tage, his whippy ac­tion pro­pel­ling pop­pers that were some­times as un­read­able for him as they were for bats­men.

Chan­dra of­ten pro­duced re­mark­able match fig­ures, but his 6-38 against Eng­land at The Oval in 1971 helped his team win its first Test in Eng­land and se­cure the se­ries, 1-0.

In­dia came from well-be­hind to win that de­cid­ing match. Lead­ing by 71 runs on the first in­nings, Eng­land in­tended to use much of day four es­tab­lish­ing an unas­sail­able lead. Af­ter despatch­ing opener Brian Luckhurst, with two suc­ces­sive de­liv­er­ies Chan­dra dis­missed John Edrich and Keith Fletcher. It opened the flood­gates, and later he dis­charged Illing­worth and the tail. All out, 101. In­dia’s bats­men al­most made a meal of the 174 run chase, los­ing six in the process, which only un­der­lines the im­por­tance of Chan­dra’s ef­fort.

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