On This Day: Garfield Sobers makes history at Kingston

On this day, in 1958, Sir Garfield Sobers played an unbeaten knock of 365 against Pakistan in the third Test of the series.

It was a record-breaking day for the 21-year-old Garfield Sobers, who turned his maiden Test century into a 365 not out.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

A Test match, which will be remembered for many, many years by all who were at Sabina Park during the past week, ended here in a victory by an innings and 174 runs for the West Indies.

There were only 40 minutes of play on the last morning, of a match which saw two centuries, a triple century and a double century on a wicket, which all the local experts had declared “a flint-hard surface, on which bowlers would play major roles”. When Kardar won the toss for the first time on this tour and elected to bat, Pakistan supporters were happy; but the ball was only a few deliveries old when the first blow was struck: Hanif Mohammad, who had been dogged by a bad patch from the time the team arrived in Jamaica, was out, caught behind off Gilchrist. Then came the domination of bat over ball, a domination which was spread over four days as bowlers laboured in the sun. Imtiaz Ahmed profited from lapses in the field went on to a nonchalant century.

Saeed and Wallis played two splendid innings, so that Pakistan was able to raise 328 in its first innings. Kanhai, who had been restored to his role of an opening batsman, and Hunte, whose introduction into International cricket was delayed for many years by blundering selectors, gave their side another good start.

After Kanhai left, Sobers — playing on the ground on which he made his debut as a left-arm spinner in the place of Valentine against England in 1954 — proceeded to bring another remarkable phase into the game.

He helped the aggressive Hunte to add 446 runs for the second wicket — only five runs short of the world record held Donald Bradman and W.H. Ponsford of 451 versus England in 1934.

Sobers' knock of 365 stood as the highest ever score in Test cricket for 36 years.   -  AP

 

Hunte’s quota in this run-glut, was 260 before he was run out, and it was amassed against an attack which suffered when first Mahmood Hussain and Nasimul Ghani had to drop out of the team suffering from injuries: Hussain with a groin ailment and Ghani with a fractured finger.

Sobers had another helpful partner in Weekes, but it was during his stay with Walcott that he marched past the world's highest individual score of 364 by Hutton, versus Australia at the Oval in 1938. The delighted Jamaican crowd allowed the 21-year-old left-hand batsman, who rose from the ranks of minor cricket, only enough time to reach 365, before swarming the field and lifting the batsman shoulder high.

They did not stop there; they sang ‘for he’s a jolly good fellow’ and danced with so much vigour on the pitch that when Alexander declared West Indies' innings closed. Kardar refused to send in his men: the pitch was badly cut up. That was on Saturday. During the week-end, the groundsmen gave the wicket as good a face-lift as was possible so that the Pakistanis could start their uphill task of wiping off 4b'2 runs before making West Indies bat a second time. Although the visitors had created history in their grand fight back in the first Test at Barbados at the start of the tour, hardly any of us thought they would save themselves. Dewdney, who is one of the steadily improving players in this series, blew the Pakistan opposition sky-high by dismissing Imtiaz with the seventh ball of the innings and Gilchrist, the ‘Bad Boy’ of current International cricket (what a terrible temper this lad has!) was again the agent of Hanif’s early dismissal.

So two wickets were down for only 20. No, not two; but four, because neither Hussain nor Ghani was able to bat this time and Pakistan innings ended at the fall of the eighth wicket.

Mathias, Saeed Ahmed and Alimuddin now came to give the lie to renewed belief that bowlers were again in command. They played many fine strokes and when they chose to defend, none of the bowlers, particularly Gilchrist, who elected to bowl short, could get through.

Gibbs, who might well make it difficult for Ramadhin to return to Test cricket, cracked the Pakistan shell open by dismissing Saeed and Alimuddin and Eric Atkinson, now a fixture in the team, defeated Mathias with the aid of a magnificent catch by Alexander. And so Kardar and Wazir became the last hopes of the visitors doing the miraculous. Wazir who had 0, 0, 2 against his name for the three innings he played in his previous trips to the wicket, added 148 with the skipper and accomplished his first Test 100, but the end came soon after. Pakistan had lost.

(The article was published in Sport & Pastime on March 22, 1958)