On this day in 1990, Kapil Dev hit an astonishing four consecutive sixes to ensure that India avoided a follow-on in the first Test against England at Lord’s.
After sweeping the ODI series, India contested in a three-match Test series against the hosts, and they got off to a miserable start. England, asked to bat first, posted a massive 633 in the first innings on the back a magnificent triple-century by their captain Graham Gooch. Allan Lamb and Robin Smith scored centuries to ensure that the possibility of an Indian victory was minimal.
In reply, Ravi Shastri and Mohammad Azharuddin hit centuries but the visitors still faced an uphill task to avoid the follow-on. Kapil Dev came to the rescue, scoring a half-century in the process, but kept losing partners at the other end as he chipped away at the required score. Kiran More’s dismissal was followed by Sanjeev Sharma’s as India were reeling at 430/9.
With India still needing 24 to avoid the follow-on, Dev took the initiative to wipe off the runs in the following over. After blocking the first two balls from off-spinner Eddie Hemmings, the all-rounder danced down the track and cleared the long on boundary for his first six. The same sequence followed the next delivery. Hemmings switched to a fuller length, the 31-year-old produced a flatter hit to clear the fence. The next ball was pushed wider, but the former captain stretched to get underneath the ball and connected clean for his fourth, and the visitor’s balcony applauded in delight.
Despite avoiding the follow on, India succumbed to a 247-run loss in the Test, with Gooch adding another hundred to his tally in the second innings. India managed to draw the remaining two Tests of the series and returned home with some memorable performances from Shastri, Azharuddin and a 17-year-old Sachin Tendulkar.
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