Sobers scores 183 and takes 6-21

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Garfield St Aubrun Sobers, the young Barbadian who broke Len Hutton’s Test record by scoring 365 not out against Pakistan in 1957-58, was not just a batsman.

He was an all-rounder who could bowl left-arm fast-medium, orthodox slow left-arm or left-arm unorthodox as the situation demanded. Still considered a youngster of promise on his first Test outing at Lord’s in 1957, he made a defiant 66 in the second innings and took the vital wickets of Colin Cowdrey and Godfrey Evans with the ball. An undefeated innings of 163 saved the match for West Indies in 1966 and another huge innings of 150 not out helped West Indies to an innings victory on his final visit to the Home of Cricket in 1973. In all he made 571 Test runs at 95.15 at Lord’s.

Lord’s rarely saw the best of Sobers as a bowler in official Tests, but in the 1970 England v Rest of the World ‘Test’ he claimed 6 for 21 in England’s first innings before blasting 183 with the bat in one of the finest individual performances ever seen on the Ground. The five match series between England and the Rest of the World had been hastily arranged to replace a tour by South Africa, which had been cancelled in the light of widespread protests at the apartheid policies of the South African government. The resulting team of international stars included up to five South Africans, alongside representatives from all other Test nations except New Zealand. But it was Sobers wonderful efforts that made the first match at Lord’s the most one-sided of a series the Rest of the World won 4-1.

He reduced England to 127 all out before tea on day one, then spent 280 minutes at the crease striking 30 fours and two sixes as his team amassed a first innings lead of 419. Even after such herculean efforts, he still had the energy to bowl 31 overs in England’s second innings, 13 of them maidens, and claimed 2 for 43 as England subsided to defeat by an innings and 80 runs.