Allan Border birthday special: 163 v India MCG 1985
Allan Border has been one of Australia’s greatest batsmen in the post-war era. Who singlehandedly carried the Australian batting lineup during their darkest phase of the 1980s. His epic stonewalling match-saving knocks especially during the 1980s is a part of Australia cricket folklore. An outstanding test record of 11174 runs at 50 average and 27 centuries in 156 tests supplemented by 6000 plus ODI runs. A useful partnership breaker with his left-arm spin and a brilliant fielder. Border as the captain, was the architect of the first-ever world cup win for Australia in 1987. An outstanding left-handed batsman and a superb captain who gave his heart and soul for Australian cricket.
Amongst many Border epics, was his match salvaging captain’s knock of 163 vs India at Melbourne in 1985. It was a masterclass of highest quality test match batting which saved the test for Australia in almost miraculous fashion. A recollection :
Border 163 v India MCG 1985
Australia batted first and made 262 in the first innings with the help of a gusty Greg Mathews 100. As Indian spinners Shastri, Yadav and Sivaramakrishnan took 9 wickets.
In reply, India piled on 445 with the help of good contributions down the order led by Srikkant’s dazzling 86 off 89 balls.
In the 2nd innings, Australia kept losing wickets as none of the top order could support Border. They were 205/8 at one stage on the 4th day and only 22 runs ahead. Border, who was determined to keep the Indian bowlers at bay had Bruce Ried for company as he took the score to 228/8 at the end of the 4th day. Allan Border birthday special: 163 v India MCG 1985.
On the 5th day, India had early success getting Bruce Ried and it was 231/9 and Aussies only 48 ahead. From then on it was Indian bowlers vs Border as he was all courage and determination. Playing the spinners superbly on a crumbling 5th day pitch. But scoring off loose balls and also expertly farmed the strike as the time started ticking away for the Indians with rains forecasted in the last session.
With last wicket not falling in a hurry. Kapil Dev brought himself on but Border went after him reeling off superb cover drives. Cuts and a lofted shot down the ground stepping out. Border realised that runs are of importance to extend the lead as far as possible and hope that weather predictions stay true for the final session. He was sweeping the spinners comfortably on a wearing pitch as he started to pile on some runs before he stepped out to Yadav and was stumped by Kirmani for a heroic knock of 163 as Australia were finally all out for 308…a lead of 125 of which Border helped to add 103 runs for the last 2 wickets !!
Chasing 126 to win, India reached 59/2 at tea and never came out thereafter as the rain forecast proved right and it rained for the full final session to deprive India of a certain win but had it not been for Border’s knock, India would have won the match in the first session of the 5th day itself or maximum 2nd session.
A video glimpse of Border’s marvellous innings