One of the Greatest Innings by an Indian Batsman- GR Vishwanath at the Chepauk(1974)
Vishwanath put the west Indies bowling to the sword and Indiia won.
The Day the the West Indies Pace Bowlers were put to the Sword
Cricket is a wonderful game and very popular in India. India has now built up an average plus team that does win quite a few matches, but some decades back India was mostly a good loser and great innings were rare to witness. In addition India had a phobia against fast bowling and Indian batsmen sometimes took guard outside the leg stump while facing the pace bowlers. Even Polly Umrigar was shocked by the pace of Truman during the 1952 tour of England.
Innings of Greatness
In such a scenario an innings of great importance was played by GR Vishwanath against the West Indies in 1974 .This was during the fourth test of the series.The Indian captain Pataudi won the toss and elected to bat. The Indian openers soon entered the arena and the West Indian, Andy Roberts started by marking his run. Roberts was a fearsome pace bowler and he soon made his presence felt. The first over itself was a torrid one and the Indians knew that they were up against some fiery bowling. Both the openers were soon back and the no 3 batsman AD Gaekwad was also soon heading back to the pavilion.
This was the time the 'little man' GR Viswanath entered the arena. He started with a glorious square cut of Roberts that sped to the fence. It was an authoritative shot that established Vishy as a touch master. He alone now faced up to the fearsome attack that included Daniel, Holding and Holder. It was great batting as Vishwanath cut and drove as well as hooked the bowlers with gay abandon. At the other ends wickets continued to fall and the Indian Captain Pataudi was also back for just 7.
Vishys day at the Chepauk
Roberts bowled with zeal and fire, but Vishy that day made Indians proud by his batting. He faced the fearsome West Indies pace bowlers without a helmet and also hooked their bouncers with disdain. Correspondents from the entire world over wrote in their columns the next day about this fear less assault on the West Indies pace bowlers. Soon Vishy reached his fifty and continued his batting spree, but at the other end wickets continued to fall till the score showed a dismal 118/8.
Vishy continued his batting as the bearded Sikh Bedi joined him. Wearing a blue parka Bedi faced up to the West Indies pace bowlers manfully. At the other end Vishy farmed the West Indies bowlers with ease as he crossed his fifty and continued towards his century. But alas when he was 97 the Indian innings folded up and he was left stranded. That one innings established Vishy as master batsman perhaps the best India ever produced. India won the test as the West Indies folded up against Bedi and Prasanna. Viswanath innings will long be remembered as one of the greatest played by an Indian