BHAGWATH CHANDRASEKHAR (THE OVAL, 1971)
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.