This day 40 years ago: Viv Richards single-handedly destroys England with record 189* | Crickit
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This day 40 years ago: Viv Richards single-handedly destroys England with record 189*

May 31, 2024 05:42 PM IST

Viv Richards single-handedly took West Indies from being 166/9 to a score of 272.

Many a great batter has emerged in the years since West Indies legend Viv Richards ended his illustrious international career in 1991. And yet, those who have watched him play live, and even those who have only been able to experience his career through grainy highlight reels and both verbal and written stories, tend not to argue when someone puts Richards above the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and other great batters that have followed him.

Viv Richards celebrates his century at Old Trafford with Michael Holding(Getty Images)
Viv Richards celebrates his century at Old Trafford with Michael Holding(Getty Images)

An example of why this is the case could be seen exactly 40 years ago at Old Trafford in England. It was the first ODI of West Indies' nearly four-month long tour of England. It included three ODI matches, five Test matches and a plethora of tour games, as was the norm in those days.

West Indies captain Clive Lloyd won the toss and chose to bat first. The pitch provided prodigious turn for the spinners and Geoff Miller used that to the full. He picked three wickets as England reduced West Indies to 166/9. Richards was the recognised batter at one end and fast bowler Michael Holding at the other and there was still more than 14 overs left in the 55-overs-a-side match. The pair added a whopping 106 runs for the last wicket with Richards' share being 93. West Indies' innings ended on 272/9.

Viv Richards and Ian Botham during the epic knock(Getty Images)
Viv Richards and Ian Botham during the epic knock(Getty Images)

A chanceless aggressive innings

In an era where strike rates over 100 were rare, Richards finished unbeaten on 189 off 170 balls, the highest score in men's ODI cricket at the time. He hit a whopping 21 fours and five sixes and yet, his innings was almost entirely chanceless. The only chance England got against him was a missed stumping down the leg side off Miller when Richards was on 44. The next highest score by a West Indies batter in that innings was Eldine Baptiste's 26 off 49 while Holding finished unbeaten on 12 off 27 balls. Richards, Baptiste and Holding were the only batters to have not got out for a single digit score on the day.

England fell well short of that and they were all out for 168, just two runs more than what West Indies' score was when Holding joined Richards. Holding recorded figures of 2/23 and Richards, notably got two wickets himself in the 11 overs that he bowled. Joel Garner was the most succesfull West Indies bowler though, returning figures of 3/18 in 8 overs. West Indies won the match by 104 runs.

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