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Headless chicken run

The man who followed orders all too well

Nagraj Gollapudi

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In 1961 in Adelaide, Ken "Slasher" Mackay and Lindsay Kline famously saved a Test Match for Australia against West Indies by batting nearly two hours in a battle that proved that saving a match is often as satisfying and exciting as winning one.

A similar tale with an amusing twist took place in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) in the sixties in a vital match between Salisbury Sports Club and Alexandra Club. Alexandra needed to win the game to clinch the league. For Salisbury a draw was sufficient to retain the title.

David Lewis, an icon of Rhodesia cricket, was 50-odd not out, and Salisbury were nine wickets down. Winning was out of the question; they were playing for a draw. Lewis was joined at the wicket at approximately 3pm by the young No. 11, named Lindsay, who had been drafted into the team at short notice to make up the numbers.

Lewis asked Lindsay if he could count to six, to which Lindsay timidly replied, "Yes, sir." Lewis then instructed him: "Good. Then on every sixth ball you run, no matter where the ball is hit."

Lewis batted magnificently for almost three hours and farmed the bowling so well that Lindsay did not have to face a ball.

The last over arrived. Lewis was batting with his back to the pavilion with shadows falling across the ground. He played out five balls. The sixth he blocked back to the bowler, after which he put his bat under his arm and turned towards the pavilion, believing the match was saved.

Then, to his horror, out of the corner of his eye he saw the youthful Lindsay sprinting, as per instruction, on the sixth ball, to Lewis' end, only to be promptly run out!

As told to Nagraj Gollapudi. This article was first published in Wisden Asia Cricket magazine

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