Time stood still as Gavaskar progressed at snail's pace

Ominous start: An aberration in Little Masters career

Chasing an improbable 335 for victory, India finished with 132 for three in 60 overs, Gavaskar remaining unbeaten on a princely 36 off a whopping 174 balls!

Riding on Dennis Amiss’ 137 (147b, 18x4) and Keith Fletcher’s 68 England piled what was that time the highest one-day total, though it came in 60 overs.

Understandably, it was a tough ask by the Indian batsmen but not presenting even a token fight defied all logic.

India’s manager on the tour GS Ramchand said that Gavaskar apparently had considered the England score not chaseable and hence opted for some match practice. Hard to believe but the truth will never be revealed though the Mumbaikar regretted his innings years later.

He admitted that it was the worst innings of his life. “I couldn't force the pace and I couldn't get out. Towards the end I was playing mechanically,” he had claimed later. The first man to reach 10,000 runs in Tests also revealed that he had in fact been caught behind off the second ball of the innings, and wished he had walked at that instant.

“That little moment of hesitation (not to walk) got me so much flak all these years,” he had noted afterwards. It’s, however, a cross around his neck the legendary opener can’t wish away.

It was exactly the start the most ambitious project in the game’s history didn’t need, but the opener left everyone astonished playing what inarguably is one of the most controversial one-day innings of all time.

A fortnight later, the same venue, Lord's, played host to the final between West Indies and Australia, one of the great limited-over matches. Powered by their skipper Clive Lloyd’s unbeaten 102 (85b, 12x4, 2x6), Windies amassed 291 for eight. Australia, however, weren’t going to be cowed down; niether by the sheer size of the total nor by an intimidating attack.

There wasn’t any knock as significant as that of Lloyd, but captain Ian Chappell led the spirited fight with a 93-ball 62, a string of cameos bringing them closer to the target. But not close enough to win the match. Australia eventually finished at 274 all out from 58.4 overs to suffer a 17-run defeat as Viv Richards effected four run outs.     

A tournament which got off drawing more yawns than Gavaskar’s runs, fortunately had a perfect finale.

Score Board

England
Jameson c V’havan b Amarnath    21
Amiss b Lal    137
Fletcher b A Ali    68
Greig lbw A Ali    4
Denness (not out)    37
Old (not out)    51
Extras (LB-12, W-2, NB-2)    16
Total (for 4 wkts, 60 overs)    334
Fall of wickets: 1-54, 2-230, 3-237, 4-245.
Bowling: Madan Lal 12-1-64-1, Mohinder Amarnath 12-2-60-1, Abid Ali 12-0-58-2, Karsan Ghavri 11-1-83-0, S Venkataraghavan 12-0-41-0, Eknath Solkar 1-0-12-0.
India
Gavaskar (not out)    36
Solkar c Lever b Arnold    8
Gaekwad c Knott b Lever    22
Viswanath c Fletcher b Old    37
Patel (not out)    16
Extras (LB-3, W-1, NB-9)    13     
Total (for 3 wkts, 60 overs)    132
Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-50, 3-108.
Bowling: John Snow 12-2-24-0, Geoff Arnold 10-2-20-1, Chris Old 12-4-26-1, Tony Greig 9-1-26-0, Barry Wood 5-2-4-0, Peter Lever 10-0-16-1, John Jameson 2-1-3-0.

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