'I can't remember a thing after 120 in that innings'

The chief protagonist of the second tied Test on an innings of sweat, tears and worse - and the party after

Interview by Brydon Coverdale

Australia and India meet at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai this week for the seventh Test between the teams at the venue. The third of those encounters, played 26 years ago, was one of the great Test matches and remains one of only two Tests to be tied. One of Australia's heroes of that match, Dean Jones, reflected this week on the match and its aftermath.

Dean Jones: lost bodily fluids by the gallon but was under pressure to bat on

Dean Jones: lost bodily fluids by the gallon but was under pressure to bat on © Wisden

Before we left Australia I spoke to Lindsay Hassett about the right way to play spinners. Then I paid my own way and flew up to see Ian Chappell. He plied me with way too many beers over a lunch and I learnt heaps from there. I thought, "Right, this is the way I'm going to play."

In the first few games of the tour I got a lot of 20s and 30s and I kept using my feet to the spinners but nothing really came of it. But I was thinking, "I'm going to go down playing the way I want to play and using my feet."

Jones had played only two Tests previously, on the 1984 tour of the West Indies. Two and a half years later, he still didn't know in the lead-up to the Madras Test if he was going to be part of the side.

I was rooming with Mike Veletta and we were both in line for it. It was a 50-50 bet. The coach, Bob Simpson, roomed us together just before that Test match and Mike was thinking he was going to play and I was thinking I was going to play. Someone was going to be upset. It was two days before the match that AB [Allan Border, the captain] called me into his room and said, "I want you to bat No. 3 for Australia here. I like the way you play." It was the first time he'd ever really spoken to me, even though we'd already been there for four and a half weeks.

Border won the toss and in extremely hot conditions chose to bat. Jones and David Boon gave Australia a strong start and they reached 211 for 2 at stumps on the first day, with Jones on 56.

I was very nervous. We put so much pressure on players and say you haven't made it unless you've made a hundred for Australia.

I didn't drink water overnight. One hour into day two I knew I was in trouble. I didn't drink anything apart from a cup of tea or coffee. We didn't know anything about dehydration and rehydration back then. Then I just batted from memory basically. I can't remember much from 120 on. I know nearly every shot in every innings I played. I can't remember a thing after 120 in that innings.

Jones struggled to control his bodily functions in the extreme heat, urinating involuntarily and vomiting, and he went to tea on 202 not out. He didn't want to return to the crease, but was taunted by Border that if he wasn't up to the job "we'll get a Queenslander out here", meaning the next man, Greg Ritchie. (Jones is a Victorian.)

I didn't want to come out after tea. I was 202 and I was just gone. Simmo and AB just pushed me out and said, "You're batting." When you're urinating in your pants and vomiting 15 times, you've got massive problems. It wouldn't happen now because of litigious players and workplace safety. Should we be playing in 42 degrees? We go off for rain but we don't go off when it's 42.

When he was eventually dismissed for 210, Jones was rushed to hospital and put on a saline drip. But he returned to the Test and saw some outstanding work from his team-mates, including Greg Matthews, who famously wore a long-sleeved jumper in the Madras heat.

He made 70-odd runs and took ten wickets. He actually asked for a long-sleeved jumper on the last day, which blew everyone away. Then he parked himself on the boundary in front of the Indian team and told them, "It's not hot, we love it like this", and started to yabber away at them. He was unbelievably great, grew an extra leg.

It was Matthews who claimed the last wicket of the match, Maninder Singh lbw for a duck with Ravi Shastri at the non-striker's end. The scores were tied but there was confusion about the result, just as there had been during the first tied Test between Australia and West Indies in 1960.

"As we ran off the ground, I said, 'I think we've won it.' And someone else said, 'No, I think it's a draw.' I said, 'How can it be a draw? We've got them out twice'"

Ravi probably should not have taken a single off Matthews and should have hit the winning runs, instead of leaving it to Maninder Singh.

I was out on the boundary. There are two scoreboards at the ground and one said we were one run in front and the other one said the scores were tied. I didn't know if Maninder had hit it or not. All I could see was Greg Matthews jumping up and down, and all Allan Border was worried about was getting the ball at bat-pad.

And then as we ran off the ground, I said, "I think we've won it." And someone else said, "No, I think it's a draw." I said, "How can it be a draw, we've got them out twice." And then the first thing Bob Simpson said was, "I've been involved in the two tied Test matches." He played in the 1960 tie.

That night, within one hour of that match, after five days of the worst heat ever, we had to travel to Hyderabad for a one-day international. But we had the best party together, the best party you will ever see, where all the boys got together and had a few drinks. It was the first drink we had had on the tour.

That started some great relationships. There was no one else, just us. Here I am, speaking to Sunny Gavaskar and Kapil Dev and Ravi Shastri and Maninder Singh and Mohinder Amarnath. It was just fantastic, it really was. They had a lot more experience than us. But with all of that said and done, the two countries have grown a great alliance together and have become damn good mates.

Sadly, Doordarshan, the public broadcaster, never kept the master tapes of the match. They always show the highlights of the 1960 tied Test match but they never show the highlights of our tied Test match. They just taped over it, which is sad.

Watching the way Gavaskar had batted in the second innings was an invaluable lesson for Jones and the rest of the young Australians.

Did I learn something about how to play Test cricket watching Sunny Gavaskar on a turning track? I ended up catching him in the covers, but he made 90. It was the way he would play straight but play it through midwicket off Ray Bright, when he was turning it two feet. The way he managed himself at the crease, the routines he went through. I learnt so much just watching him bat there on that last day. God, he was good. At the end of the day's play, guys were saying how good was Sunny. We were young kids just trying to learn.

Then we got a rained-out Test in Delhi and we had to bat out our last day on the huge turner in Mumbai to get a draw. Watching and absorbing the way Sunny and the Indians played on that last day in Madras taught us how to bat at Mumbai. We actually got a drawn series out of them.

Jones believes the tied Test was the start of a new era in cricketing relations between Australia and India.

We had never really had a cricket match that defined the two countries' relationship. We were the first Australian team that really enjoyed going to India, that really enjoyed the people - so much so that we made special efforts to get involved in their culture. Our official photograph for the tour was done in front of the Taj Mahal, and from then on we've gone to the effort to go to one of the landmarks of the country and do a photo there. We really enjoyed the people and the food and we started to get on. Every other Australian team had said, "You're going to get sick, there's millions of people, it's hard work, the grounds are awful and they'll turn square." And now look where it is. Now it's called the Border-Gavaskar Trophy - two of the great guns.

Maninder Singh is not best pleased at being given out lbw off Greg Matthews

Maninder Singh is not best pleased at being given out lbw off Greg Matthews © Wisden

Twenty-six years on, Jones can see similarities between Border's 1986 team and the side led by Michael Clarke this year.

Our team then and this current Australian team are very similar in a lot of ways. One, the respect is not there yet from overseas or even from the home fans. Two, they are inexperienced in India, in that not a lot of them have played first-class cricket in India. We were the same. We pushed ourselves into a situation where we did really well.

It's interesting that we've had a lot of great Australian cricketers over the last 20 years but we've only won once there since 1969. So we're asking a hell of a lot from our current Australian team to go over there and whip their backsides. If there is an opportunity to win one, it's now. But I'm expecting India to win the series. They're still overwhelming favourites for me.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here





  • POSTED BY Devika on | February 23, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    On the toils of Jones - yes extraordinary effort - but Australia is also a hot desert country according to what I read - so I guess Jones and team need not find it too difficult to adapt to Chennai - or am I missing something? It certainly isnt the same like - say͵ the English climate - which we know is quite colder. Just wondering..

  • POSTED BY Gomathi on | February 22, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    That was the match that has inspired a girl of 15 years from a south Indian village to get hooked on to the game.I really thought Jones was a monster! I followed that game on radio listening to Tamil commentary and immensely thrilled to see the great Kapil Dev hitting 12 boundaries to avoid follow-on. My father consoled me when I learnt we did not win and we did not lose either. I became a big fan of test cricket ever since.

  • POSTED BY Sam on | February 22, 2013, 7:15 GMT

    @swingit reckon the Aussies enjoyed a few tours of England prior to 1986 - 1948 comes to mind.

  • POSTED BY Dummy4 on | February 21, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    I was there at Chepauk on all five days. What a great match it was!! Kapil Dev's magnificent hundred in the first innings was not far behind Deano's knock. It brought India back into the Test. But the match was marred by some unsportsmanlike behaviour by some players from both sides. One can't forget the ugly spats between Tim Zoehrer-Chetan Sharma and Krish Srikkanth-Ray Bright.

  • POSTED BY eddo on | February 21, 2013, 16:10 GMT

    Wonderful recount. Hmm so the Ozzies hated going to India before then. I wonder where did they really enjoy? Could not have been England cuz you know how Ozzies feel about the "Poms". They were not going to South Africa then cuz of Apartheid. Could not have been Pakistan either given its similarities to India. Definitely not the Windies since no one "enjoyed' facing them anywhere in the 80s much less at home in pace friendly fortresses like Sabina and Kensington Oval. So NZ or Sri Lanka? Good question to ask Ozzies of that era.

  • POSTED BY Dummy4 on | February 21, 2013, 12:26 GMT

    Brilliant innings by Dean Jones. Apart from this there was Sunny's second innings 90 and Matthew's 10 for in the match. My memories of the match is as much about Kapil's brilliant 119 in the first innings when India were in real trouble. I remember thet he cut out is lofted shots and hit a series of 4s and no 6s in the innings. Great stuff.

  • POSTED BY Dummy4 on | February 21, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    That was one great test match. Remember watching this on TV and cannot pardon Shastri for his terrible decision to let Maninder face that dreaded ball. The umpire was in a hurry to get back to pavilion (you will notice that if you watch the video) in a flash he lifted his finger and it appeared a bat-pad not out. Anyway it was a classic game to remember. Chennai always brings something special and hope tomorrow's encounter proves the same. Jones' write-up appeared right from his heart - some of the quotes "Watching the way Gavaskar had batted in the second innings was an invaluable lesson for Jones and the rest of the young Australians." & about DD's mess-up "Sadly, Doordarshan, the public broadcaster, never kept the master tapes of the match. They always show the highlights of the 1960 tied Test match but they never show the highlights of our tied Test match. They just taped over it, which is sad." were worth mentioning.

  • POSTED BY Vinod on | February 21, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    i remember watching that test live on doordarshan. i could really feel the heat when dean jones batted out that epic innings! the sight of him now a days everytime reminds me of that innings although he had a lot of ODI match winner innings on his wallet by then. not surprised by the gesture of kapil - that's expected of a real sportsman. i thought that aussie team lead by AB was somewhat special with players like david boon + geoff marsh (the opening pairs unfailingly at their best in india), greg mathews (with terrific bowling performances esp in india and a pure entertainer substance), steve waugh and mc dermott. the challenging declaration by AB also added spice.

  • POSTED BY KISH on | February 21, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    This was the very first test match I have watched. I was following the ODI's and was a big fan of Gavaskar and Shastri. My school mate taught me how the test matches are played. Being only known of ODI's before, I thought that only the last day is important in test matches and always thinking that Shastri, the Indian lion(I used to think that way) will win any matches for India. Because, everytime I watched an ODI, it was him who will fight for India. So, this test match progressed just the way I thought it would be. Only change was that, it ended up in a tie. Being part of a family of soccer fans, I thought it was normal. Because, a draw was quite normal in soccer. Thrilling as it was, I never understood the significance of that result, until several years later (We must have switched off the TV, just after it was a draw and never heard what the commentators had to say about the result).

  • POSTED BY Dummy4 on | February 21, 2013, 11:26 GMT

    one of the best inning on indian soil

  • POSTED BY Travis on | February 21, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    Border telling Jones that he wanted him to play like a Queenslander... That was an inspired (if somewhat cruel, given the physical condition Jones was in) bit of captaincy. A bit like when Border told Craig McDermott (from Queensland) "do that again and you'll be on the next plane home" during the early county matches of the '89 tour.

    Border is my favourite cricketer of all time. But there is no way I would ever cross that man. He had no sympathy whatsoever for anyone in his team who wasn't giving 100%. That's why they named the "Australian Cricketer of the Year" award after him only a handful of years after he'd retired.

    Nobody else ever played or captained as hard as Border. As one of the first players to score 10,000 runs whilst averaging over 50 and ushering in 20 years of success for his team, he's criminally underrated. Steve Waugh was a softy by comparison.

  • POSTED BY Dummy4 on | February 21, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    One of my earliest memories. Bob Simpson was playing in the 1st tied Test, he was coach here. Ind v Aus always quickens the pulse. Can't wait for tomorrow. Chennai always do a good job.

  • POSTED BY PALLAB on | February 21, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    Followed match as a 14 year-old.One of those ABOLSUTELY slow Test build-ups crescendoing to a riveting thriller on last day. The OZ 1st innings was not even completed on 2nd day;most friends wrote it off as a draw. This same OZ unit bonded well on this rigorously tough trip and laid the seeds of their World Cup triumph next year in India in 1987.Good to see Deano acknowledging the Test MASTERBAT that Gavaskar was;too many have forgotten his exemplary exploits in a much tougher era or don't give him enuf kudos. Sunny was the 4th innings specialist of that era:90 in Tied Test, 221 at Oval in 1971 (drawn,),106 chasing 404 at Port of Spain (win),113 in Brisbane in '77 (lost by ),96 in last Test innings against Pak in '87 (lost by 16 runs;though this is UNARGUABLY the best Test innings played on a raging turner-cum-dustbowl in Test history).

  • POSTED BY Karthik on | February 21, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    That innings has every reason to go down in history as one of the specials, especially for the character, grit, stubbornness and determination displayed. Jones' Deano Magic had rightly deserved a full Man of the Match, albeit the match ending in a historic tie. Sadly had to share the spoils with a Kapil whose contributions here required a 'Dev'ilish' strain of the eye to screen thrice through the scorecard to get some output. Besides, a much bemused Matthews could only look on with his 2 Pfeiffer's in 2, wondering why he had to be born on the wrong side of the hemisphere. But then that's the 'turning' sub-continent 'point' put forth for you."

  • POSTED BY Swami on | February 21, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    Its nice to see the players helping out the opposition when in physical trouble, unlike modern day prima donnas who would rather let them bleed than help them.

  • POSTED BY Madhusudhan on | February 21, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    Ufff...i can feel the heat of Indian summer in chennai just reading it... C'mon guys It is chennai again c'ant wait anymore to watch two great teams sweating it out for the test of character.

  • POSTED BY Dummy4 on | February 21, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    As an young kid I saw the innings and Jones became my staunch enemy after Miandad due to my Indian team loyalties.Its great effort on a rank slow turner.

  • POSTED BY Andrew on | February 21, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    Forgot to mention, in contrast to my earlier post, the VERY sporting actions in the first picture by the Indian cricketers (More & Dev?)

  • POSTED BY Andrew on | February 21, 2013, 4:30 GMT

    Note the "sporting" reaction from Maninder Singh! == == == Good interview.