Writers on the best day, session or passage of play they've seen live

India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 1986-87

The disintegrating hero

When Dean Jones fought heat, the bowlers and his own body to rack up one of the great double-hundreds

Mike Coward

December 6, 2009

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Dean Jones throws up on the pitch during his epic 503-minute double hundred, India v Australia, Madras, 1986-87
Dehydrated but not defeated © Wisden
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It was about the time he reached 150 that Dean Jones' body shut down. After seven hours and 15 minutes in the steaming cauldron that was Chennai's Chidambaram Stadium, he lost all sense of time and reality.

More than once he vomited and, to his acute embarrassment, urinated in his flannels, which were already soaked from such painful exertion. But while he had no control over his bodily functions, his mind somehow remained focused on the task assigned by his captain, Allan Border.

Racked by leg and stomach cramps and with his boots full of sweat, he could no longer use his feet to the slow men, a skill for which he was renowned. Yet through the cursed haze his cricketing instincts served him well. He ignored the pins and needles in his hands and ensured his head remained perfectly still.

Astonishingly his vision was not unduly impaired and he stood at the crease and delivered an out-of-body tour de force that defied belief. It was as though the millions of gods of the Hindu pantheon were with him, for the harder he struck the ball the more precisely he placed it.

Famously goaded by Border when he sought to withdraw at 174, Jones reached 210 before his body finally ground to a halt and he was bowled by offspinner Shivlal Yadav.

The Test match is rightly remembered and recalled as much for his courage and competence as for the fact the scores were tied for only the second time in the illustrious history of the game.

Mike Coward is a cricket writer with the Australian

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