December 8, 2010

It was fifty years ago today

The effect of the first Tied Test was to raise cricket from its prevailing grisly greyness and take it closer to the zeitgeist of that heady decade. That's why that game and that series remain unmatched for cricketing drama
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Brisbane 1960. Fifty years on, has any game touched it for aura or resonance? For resurrecting hope where virtually all had been extinguished? For giving future generations faith in cricket's potential as the most engrossing theatre of all? As that inimitable comedian Frankie Howerd was wont to put it, nay, nay, and thrice nay.

I was barely three at the time, and hence utterly unaware of a contest immortalised by the title of Jack Fingleton's vivid hard-backed account, The Greatest Test of All, but the ripple effect was vast. I was still in single figures by the time I learned about that magical first tied Test but the cumulative impression created by reports, memoirs, history books and monochrome photographs was deep and lasting. So this was how wondrous sport could be, how cricket could be.

Confirmation came in the late 1990s, via 59 minutes' worth of video highlights from ABC's television coverage. Sure, the view was largely from mid-off, the camerawork dodgy as well as prehistorically limited, but every frame was precious: the joyous majesty of Garry Sobers' cover drive as he flowed to his classical first-day hundred; Alan Davidson's consummate allroundedness; Norm O'Neill's power; Wes Hall and Rohan Kanhai in full exotic flight; the bedlam and mayhem that followed Joe Solomon's unerring side-on throw as Ian Meckiff lunged for the winning run. After 83 years and 502 games, the fanciful notion of a tied Test, the ultimate sporting longshot, had finally bounded from theory to reality.

As Gideon Haigh relates in The Summer Game, Keith Miller and Alan McGilvray, the commentator, were flying into Sydney together when the hostess advised them that the match had finished "even".

Miller: "You mean it wasn't a draw?"
Hostess: "No, it wasn't a draw."
Miller: "Then the West Indies won?"
Hostess: "No, nobody won it. I'll go back and find out."

By the time she returned with the full picture, McGilvray was the personification of misery. "I have spent nearly 25 years," he would write 25 years later, "being furious for leaving Brisbane that day."

Over those five days at the slow-blinking dawn of the 20th century's most progressive decade, Australia and the West Indies also gave us a blueprint: a three-day test of skill capped by a two-day examination of nerve, underpinned by a refusal to regard the draw as a worthy goal until all other options had been exhausted. And boy, was it needed.

IT WOULD BE HARD TO EXAGGERATE cricket's vices as the Fifties gave way to the Sixties. Chucking was rife. The West Indies banned Roy Gilchrist for hurling beamers at an Indian tourist. On successive England tours of the Caribbean, in 1954 and 1960, Tests at Kingston and Port of Spain erupted in riots. Bottles were thrown in Delhi too, impending home defeat the unifying cause.

Even more dispiriting was the grisly greyness of the matches themselves. Of the 11 dullest Tests in history (measured by run-rate when at least 20 wickets fell), 10 took place between January 29, 1954 and December 5, 1958 (and 17 of the 23 least gripping). Of the seven most dilatory days' play on record, five occurred between October 1956 and Christmas 1959. The most recent Ashes series, in 1958-59, began with the most patience-snapping, love-sapping passage in Anglo-Antipodean annals: England ground out 106 runs in five hours on day four at the Gabba, thanks primarily to Peter May's decision to promote Trevor Bailey ahead of Tom Graveney and The Barnacle's uncanny impersonation of a constipated slug. Not much of a plug for the first Test televised live down under. There have been easier times to be a cricket tragic.

The appreciation was entirely mutual: Melbourne expressed a nation's gratitude with a tickertape send-off. "The statement which was quite frequently made and which brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes," remembered Worrell, "was: 'Come back soon.' "

That Brisbane tie, therefore, could not have been timelier. What made it so magical, though, was its immediate legacy. The second and third Tests brought convincing wins for each side but the Hitchcockian suspense soon returned. Australia's final pair, Ken Mackay and Lindsay Kline, hung tight against Wes Hall, Garry Sobers, Lance Gibbs and Alf Valentine for the last 100 minutes to secure an impossible draw in Adelaide. Then, in the decisive bout in Melbourne, watched on the first day by a record throng of 90,800, Mackay, again, and Johnny Martin dragged the hosts across the line with two wickets standing and a few million hearts barely intact.

Revealingly, in each of those three epic encounters, first-innings leads were relatively minor - 52 in Brisbane, 27 in Adelaide and 64 in Melbourne. Each game built to a crescendo, a full and mighty climax. Fittingly, by way of reinforcing the wisdom of making Test matches the length they are, that MCG decider, scheduled for six days, finished late on the fifth.

Not until 2005 would a single series contain three such palpitating finishes. And not even the fused memory of Geraint Jones' plunging catch at Lord's, Brett Lee's doughty defiance at Old Trafford and Ashley Giles' eyes-agape cover-drive at Trent Bridge can quite match up to the delicious improbabilities savoured half a century ago, albeit probably because contemporary perceptions are so reliant on the interpretations of others, heightening the mystery and romance. That that trio of games raised the bar, and gave the planet's most anti-modern ballgame a tomorrow, cannot be disputed. 

SERENDIPITY PLAYED ITS PART. The men who tossed up on December 9, 1960 were of a similar disposition. Richie Benaud and Frank Worrell were wise, enterprising enablers with an eye for big pictures and small details, but let's not paint them as romantics. Indeed, it was Don Bradman, not Benaud, who exhorted the baggy green 'uns to do their bit to drag the game from its negative spiral, a speech the captain would recall when the pair sat down for tea on the final afternoon. "[Bradman] looked quizzically at me and said: 'Well what's it going to be, Richie - a win or a draw?' "

Belatedly appointed as the islands' first full-time black captain, Worrell was taken aback by the crowds. "Never before had we experienced the pleasure of playing cricket in an environment in which the spectators regarded the quality of cricket as all-important whilst they seemed completely disinterested in the result of the game." The appreciation was entirely mutual: Melbourne expressed a nation's gratitude with a tickertape send-off. "The statement which was quite frequently made and which brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes," remembered Worrell, "was: 'Come back soon.' "

It would be a mistake, though, to imagine that this was a series founded on daring or enterprising batting, even by the slothful standards of the day. The most arresting statistics from this period are the scoring rates. The mean output was 2.65 runs per six-ball over; 56 bowlers were meaner than that, but then the batsmen, cautious to a fault, were all-too willing accomplices. How curious, then, that the rate during that Australia-West Indies series, 2.56, should have been under par.

Nevertheless, by way of affirming that a thick, twisting plot deserves the suspension of time rather than acceleration, Fingleton's conclusion was heady, even giddy. "By taking the corpse of international cricket out of its winding sheet and infusing new life into it; by converting what used to be cricket wars of attrition into joyous events…Australia and the West Indies have set an example which other cricketing countries will ignore only at the peril of their own cricketing status."

Little did Fingleton anticipate how freely that risk would be taken, even by the participants. "Dull and unenterprising cricket was over," claimed Benaud in A Tale of Two Tests, "in Australia at any rate." Within months of those words being published, however, came another meandering, drab Ashes tussle. "I think everyone who saw the last day at either Adelaide or Sydney felt that too great a disparity existed between what went on in the minds of the players, and what passed through the minds of the audience who had paid to be entertained," lamented Alan Ross. "Matches are played over five days," insisted Benaud, "not over one-and-a-half." Ted Dexter, his opposite number, suggested a purse of £1000 per match and cremating the Ashes.

Truth be told, that 1960-61 series merely bought the game some time. It would take Test cricket three decades to catch fire as Fingleton predicted. Even then, the chief influence was external, namely the mindset fostered by the one-innings variant. Now, in this era of unwearing pitches and unwavering bats and unhappy bowlers, with the international balance of power more widespread and even-handed than ever, with the draw having gone from norm to exception and with safety-first jettisoned in favour of safety-last, that 1960-61 blueprint is being followed. 

The best sides arm-wrestle over the first three days whereupon the pace quickens and stronger minds prevail. Games are still being won on the opening day, when pitches are often at their least kindly, but day four is becoming increasingly pivotal - witness, in particular, October's Border-Gavaskar doubleheader in India. And turning deficits into victories is no longer a conjuring trick. Now it truly is a game of two halves, Richie.

ONE DIVERTING SUB-PLOT emerged between the fourth and fifth reels of that 1960-61 epic, when Fingleton, reporting for the Sunday Times, asked Worrell whether the rousing spirit could be maintained in the following summer's Ashes confrontation (it wasn't). Worrell, frank as ever, attacked what he saw as a crippling English disease, provoking a stern corrective from Gubby Allen. "[Worrell] said that they regarded the cricket field as a battleground; that their national characteristics had changed and they no longer got any fun out of cricket. He said they were much too serious about a game in which they didn't want to be beaten."

Might the same be said of Australia now?

Rob Steen is a sportswriter and senior lecturer in sports journalism at the University of Brighton

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on December 10, 2010, 1:27 GMT

    With this article in mind, & the awesome WIndies units that rampaged across the cricket world in the 70s, 80s & mid 90s - I hope that (weather aside), the drawn series in SL are genuine signs that the WIndies will be a force again. I think World cricket needs them back at the top! Hopefully Gayle has a couple of good years left @ Test level, Barath & Bravo maybe the new gun batsmen, & if Roach can stay fit I hope he gets a new ball partner in crime, & some better fielding I would be happy.

  • on December 9, 2010, 17:25 GMT

    There will not be anothe Test like the tied test at Brisbane 50 years ago. The majestic Century by Gay Sobers, the raw hjitting of Norman Oneill, Frank Worrell's ssweetly timed shots, Rohan Kanhai's resolute batting, Wes Hall's marathon spell, the spirited bating stand of Davidson and Benaud, all notable events. It was pulsuating on the last day - both sides do not know the result when Joe Siolomon's throw from the boundary ran Ian Meckiff out - This tied Test is incredible and will rank as the greatest ever Test in the history of cricket. Those fortunte to watch this Test, can say with pride the evens to their grand children

  • BigGeorgeMehemood on December 9, 2010, 16:00 GMT

    On behalf of most West INdians, we think the Pakistan vs WI clashes were de best..esp.1977- Majid, Zaheer, Wasim Raja and the danger man Mustaq Mohammed facing up to Roberts, Croft and Garner. Then we have Greenidge, Alvin, Richards and Freddo against Imran, Safruz, and Asif Icbal. THat is trouble.

  • on December 9, 2010, 4:47 GMT

    True dinster77, I was pretty surprised when Bhansal didn't recieve the man of the match for his efforts :P

  • pranav301283 on December 9, 2010, 2:31 GMT

    @nafzak - Thanks for adding important context to this incredible event. I got goosebumps when I watched the Chennai crowd give a standing ovation to the Pakistani team (which had returned to play a test series in India for the first time in 11-12 years that year ) in 1999. 250,000 fans lining up to bid farewell to a visiting team is in the same spirit and perhaps a few notches higher. I truly love this game. It may not alleviate the world's problem (no sport can for at the end of the day it has to be only a game), but it can bring a smile to the most hardened of faces, even if for only a moment.

  • Number_5 on December 8, 2010, 22:07 GMT

    Couldnt cricket do with two outstanding leaders like Worrell and Beanud were in this series...One of the great series for as much as the spirit it was played under as the cricket. Modern cricketers AND supporters could do worse than understand what made this series great and what is missing from the game AND its supporters in this modern age. A DVD is available called Calypso summer which is worth the watch for any cricket lover...its reminds you of why we all love the game...

  • inswing on December 8, 2010, 22:05 GMT

    Good article. You have to realize that important stuff happened before you were born. The fact that you weren't around then does not make it any less important.

  • nafzak on December 8, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    Joshua & Hegde... you must be very young. Just before the 60-61 Aus/WI series, cricket was thought to be dying. The way the West Indians and Australians, played in that series changed cricket forever. Australians fell in love with cricket once more and cricket was number one again. In fact, the Australians held the West Indians in such high regard, that before the series ended, they decided to name the trophy played for between Aus & WI, after the captain of the WI team, Frank Worrell. That was a time my friends when Blacks/coloureds still were not always welcomed in every hotel or restaurant. when it ws all over, 250,000 plus Aussies lined the streets of Melbourne to bid the West Indians farewell. Imagine that today.... any visiting/foreign team in any sport being celebrated with a tickertape parade!

  • dinster77 on December 8, 2010, 17:25 GMT

    Joshua - Harbhajan's hat trick? The only one who had a hat trick that game was S K Bhansal!! :)

  • on December 8, 2010, 15:53 GMT

    Geraint Jones' plunging catch in 05 was at Edgbaston - off Kasprowicz's glove. At Lord's Australia won convincingly!

  • Meety on December 10, 2010, 1:27 GMT

    With this article in mind, & the awesome WIndies units that rampaged across the cricket world in the 70s, 80s & mid 90s - I hope that (weather aside), the drawn series in SL are genuine signs that the WIndies will be a force again. I think World cricket needs them back at the top! Hopefully Gayle has a couple of good years left @ Test level, Barath & Bravo maybe the new gun batsmen, & if Roach can stay fit I hope he gets a new ball partner in crime, & some better fielding I would be happy.

  • on December 9, 2010, 17:25 GMT

    There will not be anothe Test like the tied test at Brisbane 50 years ago. The majestic Century by Gay Sobers, the raw hjitting of Norman Oneill, Frank Worrell's ssweetly timed shots, Rohan Kanhai's resolute batting, Wes Hall's marathon spell, the spirited bating stand of Davidson and Benaud, all notable events. It was pulsuating on the last day - both sides do not know the result when Joe Siolomon's throw from the boundary ran Ian Meckiff out - This tied Test is incredible and will rank as the greatest ever Test in the history of cricket. Those fortunte to watch this Test, can say with pride the evens to their grand children

  • BigGeorgeMehemood on December 9, 2010, 16:00 GMT

    On behalf of most West INdians, we think the Pakistan vs WI clashes were de best..esp.1977- Majid, Zaheer, Wasim Raja and the danger man Mustaq Mohammed facing up to Roberts, Croft and Garner. Then we have Greenidge, Alvin, Richards and Freddo against Imran, Safruz, and Asif Icbal. THat is trouble.

  • on December 9, 2010, 4:47 GMT

    True dinster77, I was pretty surprised when Bhansal didn't recieve the man of the match for his efforts :P

  • pranav301283 on December 9, 2010, 2:31 GMT

    @nafzak - Thanks for adding important context to this incredible event. I got goosebumps when I watched the Chennai crowd give a standing ovation to the Pakistani team (which had returned to play a test series in India for the first time in 11-12 years that year ) in 1999. 250,000 fans lining up to bid farewell to a visiting team is in the same spirit and perhaps a few notches higher. I truly love this game. It may not alleviate the world's problem (no sport can for at the end of the day it has to be only a game), but it can bring a smile to the most hardened of faces, even if for only a moment.

  • Number_5 on December 8, 2010, 22:07 GMT

    Couldnt cricket do with two outstanding leaders like Worrell and Beanud were in this series...One of the great series for as much as the spirit it was played under as the cricket. Modern cricketers AND supporters could do worse than understand what made this series great and what is missing from the game AND its supporters in this modern age. A DVD is available called Calypso summer which is worth the watch for any cricket lover...its reminds you of why we all love the game...

  • inswing on December 8, 2010, 22:05 GMT

    Good article. You have to realize that important stuff happened before you were born. The fact that you weren't around then does not make it any less important.

  • nafzak on December 8, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    Joshua & Hegde... you must be very young. Just before the 60-61 Aus/WI series, cricket was thought to be dying. The way the West Indians and Australians, played in that series changed cricket forever. Australians fell in love with cricket once more and cricket was number one again. In fact, the Australians held the West Indians in such high regard, that before the series ended, they decided to name the trophy played for between Aus & WI, after the captain of the WI team, Frank Worrell. That was a time my friends when Blacks/coloureds still were not always welcomed in every hotel or restaurant. when it ws all over, 250,000 plus Aussies lined the streets of Melbourne to bid the West Indians farewell. Imagine that today.... any visiting/foreign team in any sport being celebrated with a tickertape parade!

  • dinster77 on December 8, 2010, 17:25 GMT

    Joshua - Harbhajan's hat trick? The only one who had a hat trick that game was S K Bhansal!! :)

  • on December 8, 2010, 15:53 GMT

    Geraint Jones' plunging catch in 05 was at Edgbaston - off Kasprowicz's glove. At Lord's Australia won convincingly!

  • Jharsha09 on December 8, 2010, 15:12 GMT

    Very special, and thank you...I am hoping I may have been able to see this remarkable test in my former life! Was lucky to have seen the film of this, though, when I was nine years old. And for you Indians, can you leave your pride and egos just for one day and accept the beauty of this test, arguably the greatest, which took place on this day fifty years ago?

  • ABRAR-JANJUA on December 8, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    @Gaurav Kaul What about India to play in England and face the music on bouncy and seaming track???

  • on December 8, 2010, 13:35 GMT

    Liked it. Very very true, sir.

  • Percy_Fender on December 8, 2010, 13:08 GMT

    The photograph that usually accompanies any mention of this historic Test match is the one where Joe Solomon has hit the stumps to run out Ian Meckiff for the resultant tie. The excited commentator who was on at that point mistakenly mentioned, Victory for West Indies',then 'Victory for Australia, before finally saying that it was actually a tie,the first time this had happened. On the first day Sobers hit that sublime 132 during which if I recall correctly, he even on drove a Davidson ball off the back foot for six. On the morning of the last day someone asked me, ' What happens if both teams scored the same number of runs'.I just said these things do not happen.I realised how wrong I had been. I agree that this Test match set the benchmark for that series which was not short of drama in any of the Tests. Though Mackay and Kline stood up for nearly a session and a half against Hall and Gibbs in a last day track at the MCG, I was never convinced that the umpring was fair.

  • on December 8, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    I agree with all you fellas, I'm Australian and I have no doubt the Australia-India series was the best I've seen. England 05 was good but India 01 was the biggest test and both teams were at the peak of their powers then- India were nigh on invincible at home and Australia were awesome. I have the atmost admiration for India's team, they were a brilliant out-fit, even if H.Singh's hattrick was a bit suspect ;)

  • Seether1 on December 8, 2010, 10:31 GMT

    Oh please stop talking about India! The writer has not even mentioned Tendulkar and his record number of centuries! Also, yes the 2001 series was great...a really memorable series. However the writer has chosen to talk about this series. Please accept that the cricketing world are allowed to get nostalgic about past series that DO NOT involve India. Please reserve comments about India for articles that are in fact about India.

  • Nerk on December 8, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    Oh yes, India 2001. We've all heard it before. I'm not saying it wasn't a fantastic series, it was one of the best ever. But it cannot compete with this series, in which every test went to the last day. A series of cricket when the spirit of cricket burned brightest. A series which saw the first black man lead the W.Indies team full time. Oh yeah, and it had the first tied test. That was kinda of a big thing.

  • on December 8, 2010, 9:38 GMT

    What a match Sir, Just compare it with now a days Tamasha like IPL. dr.shrikant.desai

  • hegde421201 on December 8, 2010, 8:55 GMT

    Steen does not seem to like Indo-Australia battles...Remember 2001 series?? India won from the brink of defeat...that series was also memorable....

  • TheOnlyEmperor on December 8, 2010, 8:46 GMT

    "The mean output was 2.65 runs per six-ball over" : We live in interesting times now. The sub-4 run rate in Tests would soon give way to 5+ run rates, especially by the stronger sides, searching for a clear victory. However, what would make the 5+ run rates possible in Tests would be the complete embrace of the T20 formats where scoring at 10+ would become the norm. The spill out of this, would be felt on the ODIs, where a run rate of 7 would soon come to be seen as par. We live in a fast age, where results matter and are as important as winning. Under such a scenario, one would find batsmen making big scores : 200+ in ODIs and many 300+ scores in Tests and centuries in T20 would be an expectation! The first 200 took 2962 ODIs, the 2nd would be considerably shorter... And tied matches? Which true-blue sportsman would really want them - for it's a sour reminder of the deprivation of victory to both teams! Thank God for the "Super Over"!

  • on December 8, 2010, 8:37 GMT

    This is the biggest joke of the year! You are actually fantasizing Cook overtaking Tendulkar in the number of Test Hundreds. This only goes to show how over rated the entire English team is. They just need to play a series in India and they will come back to sense! Anderson being ranked 3rd in the world is another joke. That bloke hasn't performed on a flat track. That is why England doesn't deserve to win Ashes, because you will hear such far fetched claims from stupid biased English media!

  • on December 8, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    rather short sighted Mr Steen, what about the 2001 Test series between India and Australia...Steve Waugh leading the new invincibles to the final frontier, on the back of 15 on the trot victories. Winning the 16th in Mumbai, and from there on the tide changes mid-way through the second Test with VVS and Rahul fighting back. It was as much a series to remember as the 2005 Ashes.

  • pakwellwisher on December 8, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    Nice refreshing read. I am tired of reading about the overrated england team after their fluke win yesterday and their fans who are seeing a victory outside england after decades and dont worry james anderson wont be able to swing it again it was just a fluke.Mohd Amir and Asif are the best swing bowlers.

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  • pakwellwisher on December 8, 2010, 6:59 GMT

    Nice refreshing read. I am tired of reading about the overrated england team after their fluke win yesterday and their fans who are seeing a victory outside england after decades and dont worry james anderson wont be able to swing it again it was just a fluke.Mohd Amir and Asif are the best swing bowlers.

  • on December 8, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    rather short sighted Mr Steen, what about the 2001 Test series between India and Australia...Steve Waugh leading the new invincibles to the final frontier, on the back of 15 on the trot victories. Winning the 16th in Mumbai, and from there on the tide changes mid-way through the second Test with VVS and Rahul fighting back. It was as much a series to remember as the 2005 Ashes.

  • on December 8, 2010, 8:37 GMT

    This is the biggest joke of the year! You are actually fantasizing Cook overtaking Tendulkar in the number of Test Hundreds. This only goes to show how over rated the entire English team is. They just need to play a series in India and they will come back to sense! Anderson being ranked 3rd in the world is another joke. That bloke hasn't performed on a flat track. That is why England doesn't deserve to win Ashes, because you will hear such far fetched claims from stupid biased English media!

  • TheOnlyEmperor on December 8, 2010, 8:46 GMT

    "The mean output was 2.65 runs per six-ball over" : We live in interesting times now. The sub-4 run rate in Tests would soon give way to 5+ run rates, especially by the stronger sides, searching for a clear victory. However, what would make the 5+ run rates possible in Tests would be the complete embrace of the T20 formats where scoring at 10+ would become the norm. The spill out of this, would be felt on the ODIs, where a run rate of 7 would soon come to be seen as par. We live in a fast age, where results matter and are as important as winning. Under such a scenario, one would find batsmen making big scores : 200+ in ODIs and many 300+ scores in Tests and centuries in T20 would be an expectation! The first 200 took 2962 ODIs, the 2nd would be considerably shorter... And tied matches? Which true-blue sportsman would really want them - for it's a sour reminder of the deprivation of victory to both teams! Thank God for the "Super Over"!

  • hegde421201 on December 8, 2010, 8:55 GMT

    Steen does not seem to like Indo-Australia battles...Remember 2001 series?? India won from the brink of defeat...that series was also memorable....

  • on December 8, 2010, 9:38 GMT

    What a match Sir, Just compare it with now a days Tamasha like IPL. dr.shrikant.desai

  • Nerk on December 8, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    Oh yes, India 2001. We've all heard it before. I'm not saying it wasn't a fantastic series, it was one of the best ever. But it cannot compete with this series, in which every test went to the last day. A series of cricket when the spirit of cricket burned brightest. A series which saw the first black man lead the W.Indies team full time. Oh yeah, and it had the first tied test. That was kinda of a big thing.

  • Seether1 on December 8, 2010, 10:31 GMT

    Oh please stop talking about India! The writer has not even mentioned Tendulkar and his record number of centuries! Also, yes the 2001 series was great...a really memorable series. However the writer has chosen to talk about this series. Please accept that the cricketing world are allowed to get nostalgic about past series that DO NOT involve India. Please reserve comments about India for articles that are in fact about India.

  • on December 8, 2010, 12:00 GMT

    I agree with all you fellas, I'm Australian and I have no doubt the Australia-India series was the best I've seen. England 05 was good but India 01 was the biggest test and both teams were at the peak of their powers then- India were nigh on invincible at home and Australia were awesome. I have the atmost admiration for India's team, they were a brilliant out-fit, even if H.Singh's hattrick was a bit suspect ;)

  • Percy_Fender on December 8, 2010, 13:08 GMT

    The photograph that usually accompanies any mention of this historic Test match is the one where Joe Solomon has hit the stumps to run out Ian Meckiff for the resultant tie. The excited commentator who was on at that point mistakenly mentioned, Victory for West Indies',then 'Victory for Australia, before finally saying that it was actually a tie,the first time this had happened. On the first day Sobers hit that sublime 132 during which if I recall correctly, he even on drove a Davidson ball off the back foot for six. On the morning of the last day someone asked me, ' What happens if both teams scored the same number of runs'.I just said these things do not happen.I realised how wrong I had been. I agree that this Test match set the benchmark for that series which was not short of drama in any of the Tests. Though Mackay and Kline stood up for nearly a session and a half against Hall and Gibbs in a last day track at the MCG, I was never convinced that the umpring was fair.