Looking back on five of the biggest comebacks in cricketing historyFranziska |
Cricket is a great game for the statisticians, and everyone loves a record. India’s topsy-turvy England tour is turning into a classic for the stat freaks. As the second day of the third test drew to a close, spectators were wondering if England might triumph by a record margin. A day later, following the Pujara-led fightback, some were daring to hope this could be the greatest comeback in the history of cricket.
Let’s get one thing straight – no team has ever managed to win after conceding a first innings deficit of 350 or more. Yet as the fourth day got underway, sports betting sites in India and England both had the visitors at a relatively short 10/1 to emerge victorious. In part, that’s because we’ve become almost accustomed to seeing teams achieve the seemingly impossible. Here are three great cricketing comebacks from 40, 10 and 20 years ago.
What made the England vs India encounter at Headingly even more surreal was that everyone was talking about events that had happened at the same ground exactly 40 years earlier. Again, it was the third test, but this time the visitors were Australia, and they were the ones in the ascendancy, scoring 401/9 declared. England slumped to 170 all out, Ian Botham’s 50 the only sign of resistance, and following on, were 101/5 when Botham arrived at the crease. What happened next is part of cricket folklore, made all the more special by the fact that Botham had just relinquished the England captaincy in acrimonious circumstances. His imperious 149 not out saw England to a 130 lead, and the late great Bob Willis did the rest.
In 2011, England were up against a different kind of opposition in a different format of the game. Ireland had qualified for the World Cup and the cricketing establishment greeted them with a slightly patronizing attitude. When England racked up 327/8 then knocked over Will Porterfield first ball, even the England fans felt a little sorry for the men in green. The score was 111/5 when Kevin O’Brien and Alex Cusack came to the crease. O’Brien batted with the confidence of Chris Gayle and his 50-ball century remains a World Cup record, as Ireland stunned the cricket world with a three-wicket win.
Laxman’s marathon in the middle
Wind back 10 years to 2001, and VVS Laxman was a hair’s breadth from being dropped for the second test against the visiting Australians, having suffered a run of indifferent form. Chasing Australia’s first innings 445, Laxman was the only Indian batsman to pass 30 as his team stuttered to 171. When Steve Waugh enforced the follow on, only Shane Warne had an inkling of the danger ahead. “Mate, you want to bowl again? It’s hot out there.” Laxman’s 281 was a masterclass in determination and concentration as he batted for 10 and a half hours in the Kolkata heat and Australia have been reluctant about enforcing the follow on ever since.