won toss): Rest of the World beat England by an innings
and 52 runs
A STUNNING batting display by the Rest of the
World XI overpowered England in the deciding match of
the CMJ/Wisden Test series at Eden Gardens, and they
took the honours 3-2. It had been a long time coming,
but the Rest of the World’s batting finally clicked into
England, dismissed for 282 in their first innings,
never stood a chance. Their series-levelling effort in
the previous match at Sydney came to nothing as the
rigours of the global itinerary caught up with them.
Before this match, Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and
Garry Sobers had made some decent scores, but none had
managed a century. Now all three reached three figures —
and Tendulkar delighted his millions of fans with a
double-hundred. It was a feast of batting, but as usual
the Calcutta pitch was at its most docile in mid-match.
Peter May probably erred in batting first after winning
The Rest of the World’s fast bowlers extracted some
movement on the first day and finished with three
wickets apiece. Sobers made the first breakthrough,
swinging one back into Graham Gooch, and then Muttiah
Muralitharan outfoxed Len Hutton.
Ted Dexter took command, driving the fast men on the
up, then hooking when they dropped short. He advanced
serenely to 132 from 283 balls, with 12 fours and a
breathtaking hook for six off Dennis Lillee. However,
wickets continued to tumble regularly at the other end.
There was a sublime hour in which Dexter and Ian
Botham, free spirits and clean hitters both, added 62.
But then Botham chipped a return catch to Lillee and the
tail collapsed in familiar fashion. Dexter was ninth out
early on the second morning.
England’s total was disappointing and soon looking
inadequate. Barry Richards treated the bowling
mercilessly, setting the tone for the feast to come. He
purred to 93 from 98 balls, with 13 fours, before Dexter
sneaked one through a lazy backward defensive. Dexter
was the surprise bowling star: his energetic medium pace
also dismissed Sunil Gavaskar for a studied 51, while
Viv Richards holed out for 21.
That was 181 for three and just about the end of
English hopes. Lara’s looping backlift contrasted with
Tendulkar’s economical movements, but the pair combined
in a stand, eventually worth 261, that occupied most of
the fourth day. Fred Trueman, who finished with nought
for 132, was heard to remark that the shirtfront pitch
explained why he had never quite got round to touring
Lara eventually departed for 106 — he hit ten fours
and two sixes — but Tendulkar just tucked in for more.
Sobers loped in at 442 for four and took charge. He hit
12 fours and clattered Botham for six on his way to 102
not out. Sobers eventually called a halt shortly after
lunch on the fourth day, when Tendulkar stroked his
sixteenth four (he also hit two sixes) to reach the most
popular double-century at Eden Gardens since V. V. S.
Laxman’s against Australia in 2001. The final reckoning
was 616 for four and the Rest of the World led by 334
It proved to be more than enough. Malcolm Marshall
was again too good for Gooch and Sobers trapped a
tired-looking Dexter in front. Hutton briefly threatened
to score his fifth century of the series, but was
bamboozled by Shane Warne, whose only wicket of the
match was a crucial one. Hutton, who made 56, finished
with 744 runs overall at an average of 82.67. May made
541 runs in the series, Tendulkar 446 and Gavaskar 429,
but Sobers (351 runs at 87.75) had the best average.
May delayed the inevitable, putting on 87 with Colin
Cowdrey (47) and going on to a cultured century.
Muralitharan, who ended with 21 victims in the series,
finally fooled him, but it was fitting that Marshall —
the top wicket-taker with 32 — finished off the match.
Tendulkar’s supporters were unimpressed by the
decision to give the man of the match award to Sobers
for his hundred and five wickets. But Sobers was
delighted with a series win, to go with the 4-1 success
that his Rest of the World XI managed in England in
Computer simulation devised for Wisden.com by Y.
Ananth Narayanan, of Hallmark Software, Bangalore,
India. Detailed player profiles and a Wisden 20:20
statistcial analysis of the match can be found at