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Mulvantrai Himmatlal 'Vinoo' Mankad was one of the finest ambassadors of Indian cricket. In my opinion, his mastery of batting, bowling and fielding is yet to be surpassed by any cricketer.

Mankad's all-round genius was best illustrated in the match that is known as "MANKAD'S MATCH". It was the second Test of the 1952 series between England and India. The venue was the Lord's Cricket Ground.

Six months prior to the ENGLAND tour, Mankad, who had bowled India to its first-ever Test win earlier in the year, had requested the board to assure him of a place in the team, as he had got a very lucrative offer from HASLINGDEN CLUB in the LANCASHIRE LEAGUE. The selectors' deaf ears to his request forced him to accept the offer and declare himself unavailable as an India player for the tour.

However, injury worries to some of the picked players and public pressure forced the selectors to requisition Mankad's services after the tour began. But then, it was HASLINGDEN's turn to play spoilsport. The club refused to release Mankad for more than one match. The Indian Board reacted sharply and the turmoil ensured that Mankad had to remain a mere spectator at Leeds, the venue of the first Test, a disastrous one for India. They lost to England by seven wickets and were 0-4 at one stage in their second innings.

Then, destiny smiled and Sir Herbert Merret, President of the GLamorgan County Cricket Club, offered HASLINGDEN compensation to release Mankad for the remaining Tests. On 19th June 1952, Mankad came straight out of "Saturday afternoon cricket" into Test cricket at Lord's. His arrival solved the dual problems being faced by Indian captain Vijay Hazare; the absence of a quality opening batsman and a feeble bowling attack.

India won the toss and opted to bat first. In came Mankad along with Pankaj Roy to open the batting. The first over by Bedser was a challenging one and it tested Mankad for all the six balls. Thereafter, it was a different story. Mankad unleashed an array of strokes that had the Lord's crowd gasping in awe. Straight sixes and sweeps to spinners like Laker and Jenkins, leg-glances, pulls and drives off the faster bowlers like Bedser and Trueman were all part of this magnificent exhibition of batting. Such was the power and flurry of his strokes that Jenkins exclaimed aloud, "Hey, what do you think this is? A Sunday benefit match?"

Mankad and Roy complemented each other, with Roy playing more sedately and at a normal pace. They had a partnership of 106 before the Bengali was out to a splendid catch by Watkins at leg slip for 72. Then came an Indian collapse and the innings ended at 235.

So rapid was the collapse that Mankad was back on the field on the same day, minus his bat, gloves and pads. But he bowled on the following day. To his credit, he had figures of 13-7-13-0, despite bowling against the likes of Hutton and Simpson before lunch on day two. England were 68 for no loss with only 60 runs coming from the first session. In the post-lunch session however, the batsmen got the measure of the bowlers and turned the tables. Hutton especially was severe on Mankad, driving him through the covers thrice. Mankad struck back to take three wickets, but England ran away to a score of 537 runs.

After being in the field for nearly three days, Mankad was entrusted the mettle of opening the innings with India trailing by 302 runs. He had bowled 31 of his 73 overs on the same day. But that did not affect or bog down his determination. India lost Roy with only seven on the board. With such a huge score in front of him, Mankad could so easily have settled to humdrum defense. But he believed in 'rescue by violence'. As in the first innings, he thrilled the Lord's crowd to some glorious strokes.

He completed his first Test century against England and added 211 with Hazare for the third wicket. He was at last out for 184 with India at 270, not due to any cricketing brilliance from the English, but due to sheer exhaustion. Mankad's departure initiated yet another batting collapse and India were bundled out for 378, leaving England 77 runs for victory - a mere formality.

Though India lost by eight wickets, such was the impact of this great cricketer on the match and the minds of the English crowd - not because of the 256 runs that he scored or the 97 overs that he bowled, but the manner in which he carried himself on the field for nearly 25-and-a-quarter of hours - that the match is known as "MANKAD'S MATCH".


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