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Great games relived by those who featured in them

Western Australia v South Australia, Perth, Sheffield Shield, 1970-71

Barry goes ballistic

Barry Richards's lightning-fast triple century against Western Australia relived

Interviews by Nagraj Gollapudi

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Barry Richards: Three hundred in a day? Easy as pie. © Getty Images
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Barry Richards I realised during the practice nets before the match what a bouncy track it was - it was very shiny and your studs wouldn't go in. There was plenty of pace, and I had never experienced as much bounce as that before.

I had no thigh pads, and used socks for protection, and even the gloves I wore during that game were very cheap ones. But I never thought about being hit. My mind was totally focused on using the bat to hit the ball.

Ken Casselas, former cricket journalist We didn't know much about Barry Richards in Australia. The interesting thing was, when Western Australia had played South Australia the previous month in Adelaide, Graham McKenzie got Barry out cheaply. Then Barry went on to make 44 in the second innings and the Western Australians realised that he had considerable ability.

At Perth, WA nearly got Richards early again - with the first ball, in fact.

Graham McKenzie, WA opening bowler I bowled the first ball and he played and missed, and I thought, "Oh, this looks like a good day," because the ball was swinging. But it was the last time the ball swung, and the last time I beat the bat all day.

The best chance with Barry was to try and get him early before he got completely focused on the job. I had done that in the away game at Adelaide.

Richards Graham was the complete opposite to Dennis [Lillee]. He never used to say anything at all. He had a more classical action and used to swing the ball away from the right-hander. And he almost got me out first ball.

To me, the hardest challenge always was to get from nought to 50. I was never really one who would bully the opposition, but on this day I just kept hitting boundaries and just kept going and going.

The fielders and bowlers soon tired of chasing leather. Richards seemed to grow in confidence with each shot.

Tony Mann, WA legspinner I was the cover fielder and had to run like hell all day. He didn't hit hard but he played beautifully.

It was always amazing to watch Barry bat. He placed the ball magnificently - minimal footwork, brilliant eye, very strong wrists - just caressed the ball to the boundary ropes; no big hitting at all. It was his trademark, to find the gaps. Basically he was punching the ball off the back foot. If there was a wagon-wheel, you'd find the lines all around.

John Inverarity, WA top-order batsman It was the only occasion in my life where I began to enjoy watching an opposition batsman make a lot of runs. It was just sublime - he was toying with the bowling. Casselas He had a high back-lift, and his precise footwork allowed him to score all round the wicket - he was technically perfect. He had so much time, he was so calm, so composed at the crease, and he was so correct on that day. His cover-driving that day was almost peerless.
McKenzie On a day like that, if you are a bowler, you don't want to be bowling. You expect the batsman to commit some error at some point, but that day Barry didn't give us even a tiny bit of space.

Tony Lock, the WA captain and veteran spinner, tried his best to put a lid on the mayhem, but to no avail.

Rod Marsh, WA wicketkeeper An example of how well he batted came when at one stage our bowlers tried to dry him up by bowling just outside off stump with a packed off-side field and a strong wind blowing from extra cover. Barry soon sized that one up. He simply started playing across the ball with control, and pierced the leg-side field with great fury.

Inverarity He was giving Tony [Lock] a bit of a touch-up. Tony put a couple of fielders deep on the leg side and started to fire the ball into his pads. But Barry effortlessly hit them inside-out over extra cover. It wasn't so much a contest between two teams - he seemed to be indulging himself.

Richards I was challenging myself by trying to hit the ball in areas where there were no fielders, even though they were bowling wide on one side or the other. I was just trying to entertain myself. I wasn't the slog type of player, and was more happy finding gaps and hitting the odd one over the fielders.

You've got to bear in mind that the boundaries were as long as 30 or 40 metres. No wonder I had only one six in my entire innings.

Young Lillee was all fired up by the challenge, and it showed.

Richards Dennis was very young and as quick as he ever was, but not as smart as he ever was. He certainly was very, very lively. I was at the receiving end of a few curses, particularly when I had my moments of fortune with him with a couple of unconvincing hooks which dropped safely and dribbled to the boundary.

McKenzie Dennis was just on the verge of being selected for Australia. He was still new and not used to someone attacking him the way Barry did.



Richards says all he was trying to do was entertain himself by finding the gaps and hitting the odd one over the fielders © Wisden Cricket Monthly
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Ian Chappell at the other end had meanwhile piled up an immaculate century all but unnoticed.

Richards It was unfortunate for Ian that his innings was overshadowed, because he played a very good knock.

Inverarity Ian played a very good innings, but the contrast between the effortless brilliance of one and the very good play of the other was quite large. It took cricket to a different plane.

Casselas Chappell was able to punish the bowlers quite well, so they were not only frustrated by the brilliance of Barry, they were also up against another very good batsman who was in form.

After the first ball, Marsh had fired a verbal at Richards. By evening he was eating his words.

Marsh [When he missed the first ball] I thought, hullo, this fellow's not as good as they're all saying he is. And I said so to Inverarity at slip. He didn't play and miss again for the next 356 runs - in fact, there were only a few occasions when he even missed the middle of the bat. There were very few times I took the ball behind the stumps, because Barry hit almost everything he received, most of them with great force that emanated from superb timing.

Richards That evening when Lillee bowled the last ball of the day, I simply walked down the wicket, drove the ball back past him to the sight screeen for four, and without breaking stride continued towards the pavilion: 325 not out. Inverarity turned to Marsh, with remarkably quick recall, and commented cryptically: "I suppose he can play a bit."

Early on the second day, Western Australia's suffering came to an end, but it took a dubious decision to get Richards out.

Mann The funny thing about the way I got Barry was, I hit him on the toe on the full as he tried to paddle sweep. He and I both knew it was a wrong 'un, pitched about leg stump, so it probably would've missed leg stump. The umpire may have thought it was a legbreak and given it out.

Richards It took a terrible lbw decision to get me out. Tony Mann, who was to become a team-mate in the same grade side in Perth six years later, had set a far-flung field - the only noticeable gap was at fine leg. When he bowled a full-toss which was going down the leg side, I tried to paddle the ball into that open space - not an easy shot. I missed and "Rocket" Mann, a purveyor of almighty appeals in the true Australian fashion, gave full vent in his most pleading manner. Warren Carter gave me out.

Rod Marsh quotes from You'll Keep (1975); Ian Chappell quotes from Cricket In Our Blood (1976)

Nagraj Gollapudi is assistant editor of Cricinfo

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