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'Can I get a hundred in a session?'
Part ten: Ian Chappell on the best centuries he has watched. This time: Doug Walters' hundred in a session (00:00)
Producer: Ranjit Shinde
September 25, 2012
Doug Walters, 103 v England, Perth, 1974
'Can I get a hundred in a session?'September 25, 2012
The 1974-75 series - England and Australia in Australia - was a terrific series for the Australians. We won the first Test match comfortably in Brisbane, and Jeff Thomson got his best-ever bowling figures in the second innings and he stamped his mark on the series. We had Lillee, and Lillee was a bit of an unknown quantity because he was coming back from a back injury. But suddenly this combination of Lillee and Thomson struck fear into the Englishmen.
We went to Perth. I sent them in to bat after winning the toss, purely on the basis that they were so hammered mentally from the Brisbane Test that I thought that we had the psychological edge, so let's sort of bang it home. We bowled them out for about 208, I think. The other reason: it was a rare overcast day in Perth. It wasn't boiling hot. So that was the other reason for bowling. We were in a good position.
Now, just cast your mind back to the innings that I talked about previously - Doug Walters in Trinidad. That would have been about April 1973. So here we are, November [December] 1974. Greg Chappell batting, and he gets out about five minutes before tea time. Doug Walters coming in. Now remember, in Trinidad it was Greg Chappell getting out right on lunch, Doug Walters coming right in next. So as they are crossing, as Greg goes past Doug in Perth, Greg says to him, "This time I've given you a bit of a sighter." That's all he said.
So Doug goes out there - he is 3 at tea time. He comes back in, goes out to bat again and he is belting them all around the park. I don't know what he was at drinks, probably in the vicinity of 60, something like that. Terry Jenner was the 12th man. As he is about to take the drinks out, I said to TJ, "Check with the little bastard and ask him how he is going." TJ said, "Right, no problems, mate." So he gives Doug a drink and says, "How are you going, Doug?" And he says, "Ah, all righty… it's a bit warm out here." He said, "No, no, Doug, that's not what I am talking about… you know what I am talking about. How are you going?" And he said, "I think I've got a chance."
So it was obviously on his mind, and he knew what we were thinking.
So now we throw forward to the last over - bear in mind they are eight-ball overs. He is on 93, going in to the last over, with Bob Willis bowling. He's on strike. So he was 3 not out at tea, he needs 103 to get his hundred in a session, and we are convinced that that's what he is going for - not just the hundred, you see. All the betting in the dressing room is that he will do it; somehow he will find a way to do it.
First ball from Willis: bouncer, bang… he hits it for four. We said, "Right, it's a cakewalk now… he'll get it easy." Next six balls, no runs. So he has got one ball to go and he has got six runs to get his hundred in the session.
Still, the betting in the dressing room is: the little so-and-so, he will find a way to do it. Anyhow, Willis bowls him a bouncer and as he hits the ball, everybody in the dressing room said, "He has bloody done it."
In those days they had a rope at the WACA and the kids used to sit by the rope, and the ball had gone into the kids, you see. And as he hit the ball, some of the kids had started to run on to the field. So we could see from the dressing room that it had definitely cleared the rope and gone for six, but the umpires obviously weren't so sure. So they checked with each other, and it was quite a while before the guy signalled six. So there we are… he's got 103 - hundred in a session.
And that would have been his second one. He went on to make another one in New Zealand - hundred in a session.
You can imagine, if the guy gets a hundred… in those days not everybody would be sitting out in the balcony, some blokes would be in the dressing room, some would be in the balcony. But when a guy gets a hundred… everybody would have been clapping, whether they were on the balcony or in the dressing room. Guy gets a hundred in a session, then everybody is going to be out in the front clapping.
I said to our blokes, "Right, everybody… grab your beer and get in the showers."There's nobody in the dressing room when he walks in… we'll see what happens." So anyhow, we all are into the showers, we hear the door open. Ross Edwards was his batting partner. We hear them come in and we're waiting, we're waiting for Walters to come in looking for us and say, "Where have you bastards been?" Nothing.
Nothing happens for about five minutes. We are all standing in the showers, having a sip of beer, nobody is talking much. Eventually I said, "Well, this is a waste of time." So we walk out and there he is. He is just sitting there. He has taken his pads and his gloves off, and he's just sitting there. He is sitting there having a smoke. Terry Jenner took a can of beer to him and Doug said, "Not before time, twelfthy."
Anyhow, I grabbed Ross Edwards, and I said, "What did he do when he came in the dressing room and when there was no one there?" He said, "Mate, he did what he normally does. He just sat down, he took his cap off, he took his gloves off, and he lit up his cigarette. It just made no difference to him."
And that's one of the great things that I would say about Doug Walters. If you didn't see his innings and if you were just sitting in the dressing room when he came back in, you would never know if he had got a nought or a hundred. He was exactly the same all the time. Incredible player. He was a match-winner.
The thing about him was that he loved those sort of challenges. I mean, I don't know when the thought went into his mind about getting the hundred in the session. I don't know whether he was thinking about it beforehand or whether once Greg said what he said to him as they crossed… whether that put the thought in his mind. I have never asked him. I should ask him sometime. That was Doug Walters. He had that sort of mind. "Ah, here is a bit of challenge. Can I get a hundred in a session?"
Most batsmen, even really good batsmen, are thinking, "Hope I can get a hundred today", and not "Hope I can get a hundred in a session."
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