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Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022
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Wisden Awards

The Indian Bowling Performance Of The Century

The winner: BS Chandrasekhar– 6 for 38 v England and the full list of other nominees for Indian Bowling Performance of the Century.

The Indian Bowling Performance Of The Century
The Indian Bowling Performance Of The Century
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And the winner is: BS Chandrasekhar– 6 for 38 v England
The Oval, August 23, 1971
England were well in control of the Test when Bhagwat Chandrasekhar came on to bowl in the second innings at The Oval: they led by 71 runs after the first innings, and with five sessions to go, were pressing for a win. Two-and-a-half hours later, Chandrasekhar had taken 6 for 38 and England had been bowled out for 101. Mesmerising the Englishmen with his fizzing topspinners, googlies and the occasional legbreaks, Chandrasekhar ran through the batting to set up India’s first Test victory in England.


Full list of nominees in chronological order:

Vinoo Mankad – 8 for 55 v England
Madras, February 6 and 8, 1952
India’s first Test victory, against England in Madras in February 1952, was largely fashioned by one man. Vinoo Mankad came on to bowl after England had won the toss and, on an excellent batting strip, moved smoothly to 65 for 1. A few hours later, they had collapsed to 266 all out – Mankad taking 8 for 55. It was one of the finest exhibitions of left-arm spin bowling. The pitch offered little assistance, but Mankad’s subtle variations in flight had England’s batsmen floundering – four of the batsmen were stumped. Mankad took four more wickets in the second innings, as India won by an innings and 8 runs.

Subhash Gupte – 9 for 102 v West Indies
Kanpur, December 12, 1958
Subhash Gupte came from the classical school of legspin bowling – he could turn the ball either way, he had an excellent topspinner, and combined all his variations with immaculate control. On a jute matting wicket at Kanpur against West Indies, he gave a spectacular demonstration of his craft. West Indies elected to bat, but were soon floundering. Gupte dismissed Garry Sobers for 4, Rohan Kanhai for a duck and ripped through the rest of the batting to finish with 9 for 102, as West Indies were bowled out for 222. He could have had all ten, but wicketkeeper Naren Tamhane dropped Lance Gibbs off his bowling.

Jasu Patel – 9 for 69 v Australia
Kanpur, December 20, 1959
Going into the second Test against Australia at Kanpur, India had lost nine out of 11 previous matches, including the first one of that series. In a desperate move, India brought in Jasu Patel, an unorthodox, quickish offspinner who used the seam to cut the ball, not spin it. The gamble paid off. On a matting wicket at Kanpur, Patel ripped through Australia’s batting, taking an astounding 9 for 69 in the first innings. He took five more in the second, as India won by 119 runs to level the series. Patel remained a one-match wonder though – in six more Tests, he managed only 15 wickets.

S Venkataraghavan – 8 for 72 v New Zealand
Delhi, March 19 and 20, 1965
New Zealand had managed to draw the first three Tests against India, but Srinivas Venkataraghavan helped break the deadlock with a superb spell of offspin bowling on a first-day pitch at Delhi. New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat, but were soon in trouble. Venkat dismissed the top four batsmen and eventually finished with 8 for 72, as New Zealand were bowled out for 262. Venkat took four more wickets in the second innings, as India cantered to a seven-wicket triumph.


BS Chandrasekhar– 6 for 38 v England
The Oval, August 23, 1971
England were well in control of the Test when Bhagwat Chandrasekhar came on to bowl in the second innings at The Oval: they led by 71 runs after the first innings, and with five sessions to go, were pressing for a win. Two-and-a-half hours later, Chandrasekhar had taken 6 for 38 and England had been bowled out for 101. Mesmerising the Englishmen with his fizzing topspinners, googlies and the occasional legbreaks, Chandrasekhar ran through the batting to set up India’s first Test victory in England.

Bishan Bedi – 5 for 63 v England
Calcutta, January 3 and 4, 1973
Playing their first home series since the wins in the West Indies and England, India began badly against Tony Lewis’s England, losing the first Test. In a low-scoring second Test at Calcutta, England needed 192 to win, when Bishan Bedi showed his class. Bowling with unerring accuracy and cleverly varying the flight, turn and pace, he knifed through England’s batting line-up, finishing with 5 for 63 from 40 overs. India wrapped up the Test by 28 runs, and went on to win the series 2-1.

Erapalli Prasanna– 8 for 76 v New Zealand
Auckland, January 26 and 28, 1976
Bishan Bedi had been ruled out of India’s first Test against New Zealand at Auckland, but Erapalli Prasanna, with support from Chandrasekhar and Venkataraghavan, ensured that Bedi’s absence wouldn’t be felt. Prasanna took three wickets in the first innings, but was at his lethal best in the second, getting the ball to grip, turn and bounce. New Zealand’s batsmen were clueless against his subtle variations in flight and were bowled out for 215, Prasanna taking 8 for 76. India coasted to an eight-wicket win – one of the few instances when they won the first Test of an away series.

BS Chandrasekhar – 6 for 52 v Australia
Melbourne, January 3 and 4, 1978
India had lost the first two Tests of the five-match series against an Australian side weakened by the Kerry Packer revolution. But they fought back in the Melbourne Test, primarily due to the virtuoso bowling performance of BS Chandrasekhar. The Australian batsmen were clueless against his unique brand of fast topspinners, googlies and legbreaks. Chandra finished with 6 for 52 in each innings, as India swept to a 222-run victory.

Kapil Dev – 7 for 56 v Pakistan
Madras, January 19 and 20, 1980
Kapil Dev’s entry into the Indian team gave a whole new dimension to the bowling attack, which had hitherto been dominated by spinners. His performance in the fourth Test against Pakistan in 1979-80 was magnificent. On a flat batting track, he took four wickets in Pakistan’s first innings and then scored a hard-hitting 84 in India’s reply. Then, he ran through Pakistan’s formidable line-up in a decisive spell of fast bowling, taking 7 for 56 as India wrapped up a 10-wicket win.

Kapil Dev – 5 for 28 v Australia
Melbourne, February 11, 1981
Going into the last innings of the Melbourne Test, Australia were favourites to wrap up the series 2-0 – they needed just 143 to win. Kapil Dev had other ideas. A pulled thigh muscle meant Kapil could not take the field on the fourth evening, when Karsan Ghavri and Dilip Doshi grabbed three early wickets. Next morning, it was all Kapil. He took the field with the help of pain-killing injections, and ran through Australia’s middle and lower order in a devastating spell of seam bowling. He finished with 5 for 28 as Australia were bundled out for 83.

Kapil Dev – 8 for 85 v Pakistan
Lahore, January 23 and 24, 1983
India’s tour to Pakistan in 1982-83 had been disastrous – they’d lost three of the first four Tests, and Pakistan’s batsmen had posted 450-plus scores in the first innings of each Test. The humiliating defeats would have crushed most players, but Kapil refused to say die. In the fifth Test, Kapil ran through the formidable batting line-up on a flat pitch at Lahore to finish with 8 for 85 as Pakistan were bowled out for 323. Rain on the last two days prevented India from pressing home the advantage, but Kapil had at least given Indian fans something to cheer about.

Kapil Dev – 9 for 83 v West Indies
Ahmedabad, November 14 and 16, 1983
West Indies came to India in 1983-84 thirsting for revenge after their loss in the World Cup final. Up 1-0 after two Tests, West Indies looked unstoppable, but Kapil Dev wasn’t going to give in without a fight. In the second innings of the third Test at Ahmedabad, he rocked the mighty West Indian batting line-up with a devastating spell of fast bowling. Moving the ball both ways on a pitch which showed increasing signs of disconcerting bounce, Kapil finished with 9 for 83, as the Windies crumbled to 201 all out. The victory target of 242 proved to be too much for the Indians though – they crashed to a 138-run defeat.

L Sivaramakrishnan – 6 for 64 v England
Bombay, November 28 and 29, 1984
England’s tour to India in 1984-85 saw the emergence of Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, a classical legspinner who had it all – the legbreak, googly, topspinner, and excellent flight and loop. Playing in only his second Test, Siva baffled England’s batsmen at Bombay, taking 6 for 64 to bowl them out for 194 in their first innings. He followed up with 6 for 117 in England’s second innings, as India swept to an eight-wicket victory. Siva never fulfilled his potential though – his international career lasted just nine Tests and 26 wickets.

Roger Binny – 5 for 40 v England
Headingley, June 20, 1986
A superb exponent of swing bowling, Roger Binny never found the conditions in India to his liking, but was always a handful in seaming conditions. His medium-paced away-swingers assumed deadly proportions on a seaming track at Headingley in 1986, as Binny run through England’s batting, taking 5 for 40. Replying to India’s 272, England were bundled out for 102, laying the platform for India’s second win of the three-Test series.

Chetan Sharma – 6 for 58 v England

Edgbaston, July 7 and 8, 1986
India’s tour to England in 1986 was a whopping success primarily due to their seamers. The leader of the pack was the diminutive Chetan Sharma. His best moment came in the third Test which, ironically, was the only one England managed to draw. Chetan took four wickets in the first innings, but he was at his lethal best in the second, taking four of the top five wickets. Moving the ball both ways at a fair pace, he troubled every batsman, finishing with figures of 6 for 58, which gave him a series haul of 16 wickets in two Tests.

Narendra Hirwani – 8 for 75 v West Indies
Madras, January 15, 1988
Trailing 0-1 in the four-Test series against West Indies, India’s only chance of winning the last Test at Madras was to make an under-prepared wicket. They did that, and debutant Narendra Hirwani did the rest. The West Indian batsmen had no answers to his beguiling flight, variations and sharp turn. He took eight wickets in the first innings and then, with West Indies set an impossible target of 415, took eight more. Four of his victims in the second innings were stumped, as the batsmen charged down the track in desperation. India won by a whopping 255 runs, and the series was leveled.

Anil Kumble – 6 for 12 v West Indies
Calcutta, November 27, 1993
Chasing India’s 225 in the final of the Hero Cup at Calcutta, West Indies started adequately, reaching 100 for 4 in the 31st over. Then Anil Kumble took over. Bowling with deadly accuracy on a wearing pitch, he scythed through the middle and late order, taking all the remaining wickets to finish with incredible figures of 6 for 12 from 6.1 overs. West Indies crumbled to 123 all out; the floodlit Eden Gardens erupted with joy.

Anil Kumble – 10 for 74 v Pakistan
Delhi, February 7, 1999
A wearing fourth-day wicket, a bountiful of runs to play with, and a vociferous, partisan crowd in Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla – the ingredients were perfect for Anil Kumble to do his perfect 10. Pakistan, needing an improbable 420 runs to win, began impressively, their openers adding 101, before Kumble began to work his magic. Finding the rough spots on the wicket with unerring accuracy, Kumble had the batsmen groping at his topspinners and sliders. Pakistan collapsed to 128 for 6, and in spite of some late resistance from Wasim Akram, were dismissed for 207. Kumble’s figures read 26.3-9-74-10 – only the second instance in Test cricket when a bowler had taken all 10 wickets in an innings.

Javagal Srinath – 8 for 86 v Pakistan
Kolkata, February 17 and 18, 1999
Javagal Srinath had often been accused of not fulfilling his potential, but against Pakistan at the Eden Gardens, he bowled with a sustained hostility that was an emphatic answer to his critics. His 5 for 46 was the major contributor in bowling Pakistan out for 185, but he was awesome in the second innings. Pakistan were running away with it at 262 for 3, but Srinath, armed with the second new ball, knifed through the innings, taking six of the last seven wickets to finish with career-best figures of 8 of 86, as Pakistan were bowled out for 316. Srinath’s magnificent performance went in vain though, as India lost by 46 runs.

Harbhajan Singh – 8 for 84 v Australia
Chennai, March 21 and 22, 2001
India’s three-Test series against world champions Australia produced some stirring cricket. Australia had won at Mumbai, but VVS Laxman’s epic 281 brought India a famous victory at Kolkata. In the decider at Chennai, offspinner Harbhajan Singh showed his magic. His 7 for 133 in the first innings pegged back Australia, but he was unstoppable in the second innings. Mixing the offspinner cleverly with the straighter one, and varying his pace and flight, Harbhajan had the batsmen floundering. He finished with 8 for 84 – 32 wickets in the series at 17 – and India squeaked home by three wickets to wrap up the series 2-1.

Source: wisden.com

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