West Indies in Australia, 1960-61
Search for: “Green and gold greats”
This was about the greatest series ever, sparking a revival in Test cricket after the dull 1950s, starting with the first tied Test. It was also the first time a team was led by a black man through a series. The loveliest moment of this clip doesn’t feature any cricket. It comes at the final presentation ceremony, where Frank Worrell waits to begin his speech while a stadium full of Australians sing ‘He’s a jolly good fellow’. At the time, under the White Australia policy, Worrell could not have had citizenship in that country. As often, sport leads change.
Also see: Tied Test II, India vs Australia, at Madras. An often rancorous but always dramatic affair, documented with interviews from a range of participants.
Lillee vs Sobers, 1971-72
Search for: “Lillee Sobers”
Sobers’ 254 for the World XI at Melbourne was the best innings Don Bradman ever saw on Australian soil. The background and context is joyfully recreated by the two protagonists and the Chappell brothers. Start by watching Lillee’s magnificent 8-29 at Perth in the previous ‘Test’ (one of the eight, a young Gavaskar out fending), and proceed to the masterclass of 254. Sobers, like Muhammad Ali, was not only the greatest player of them all, he was also the most charismatic talker.
Lillee vs Kallicharan, 1975: Little Kalli, his shirt undone, his sleeves upturned, tearing into Lillee with drives and hooks and pulls. Proper “cut-arse”, as the West Indians say. Lillee vs Viv Richards, 1975-76: A testosterone duel if ever there was one. This one, four sizzling bouncers followed by a clean-bowled, to Lillee.
Holding vs Boycott, 1980-81
Search for: “Holding Boycott”
The possessor of cricket’s most beautiful action (and nickname, Whispering Death) in primal form. His over to Geoff Boycott in Barbados is considered both the fastest and the best over in Test history. Not all six balls are in the clip, but the ambience—Bajans squeezing into the stadium from under the concrete bleachers, the great eruption when the final delivery spears the stump out of the earth—more than makes up.
Also see: Holding vs Brian Close, 1976. A truly frightening clip. Close, the bravest of cricketers, looking mildly like Ronald McDonald while taking on Holding bareheaded. Two inches from certain death.
India vs Australia, Melbourne, 1981-82
Search for: “Aus Ind Melbourne 81”
This three-Test series is meticulously excerpted, and Melbourne is the most memorable. A famous Indian victory, and an even more famous controversy when Gavaskar nearly pulls his partner off the ground to protest his dismissal from a dubious umpiring decision (Gavaskar says Lillee’s abuses did it). Scout around for the other gems: Gundappa Viswanath’s wristy artistry, Sandeep Patil’s crouching power, Kim Hughes’ footwork to spin, Dilip Doshi’s bespectacled arm-ball, Australians getting bowled around their legs, and Kapil’s big effort on a worn pitch with a groin injury.
Also see: Chappell’s Underarm. More controversy from that summer, when captain Greg instructed brother Trevor to roll the ball along the ground to prevent a six off the last ball. And Randiv to Sehwag is considered unsporting.