Three-part documentary Allan Border: My Story premiers on Fox Cricket after day two of the Boxing Day Test.
Dean Jones would never have made the final runs of his historic double century in Madras had it not been for a ruthless sledge from his captain and batting partner Allan Border.
Jones was on 180 not out against the Indians but his body was shutting down as he battled dysentery and extreme heat in gruelling conditions back in 1986.
The exhausted Victorian told Border he was finished and was going to retire hurt, but the skipper wasn’t having it.
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“It was unbelievably hot, humid conditions, think about Cairns or Brisbane on its worst day, it was like that for the five days,” Border said in a three-part documentary, to be aired on Fox Cricket from December 27.
“We won the toss and batted first. Boonie (David Boon) as usual made a good contribution at the top.
“I went and talked to Dean Jones about doing that role at No. 3 and he jumped at the opportunity, he was over the moon ecstatic, he was back in the team.
“Jones bats for half of the first day at least, not out overnight. He’d really just worked hard for his runs up to that point.
“On day two he really started to expand his game, he probably took his overnight score from 60 odd to 180 odd and at this stage I’m out in the middle batting with him.
“As he was getting into the 130s, 140s, 150s, he started to become ill and dehydrated. He was trying to get fluid down but he kept throwing it back up. He was really struggling.
“He comes up to me and he goes ‘skipper, skipper, I’m just a shot duck, I’m gone. I’ve go to go off’. I was thinking to myself ‘you want to go off, you’re 180 not out’.
“Yeah it’s a little bit hot, you don’t look too flash… I’m thinking to myself, how can I keep Deano out here because he’s playing so well.
“I knew Greg Ritchie was in next so I said ‘Yeah that’s fine mate if you want to go off, we’ll get someone tough out here, we’ll get a Queenslander.
“He responded the way I expected, told me to get nicked.”
KNOCK ENDS IN THE HOSPITAL
Jones went on to make 210, which remains the highest score by an Australian in India, but was hospitalised following his innings.
“I’m thinking how fantastic, that’s a great, great innings, well done mate (but) as soon as he got off the ground he collapsed,” Border said.
“They had to put him into an ice bath. He just couldn’t keep anything down, he was really badly dehydrated so they had to rush him off to hospital and get the intravenous drop onto him.
“He suffered long-term issues because of that, every time it got a bit hot he got very distressed.”
Steve Waugh roomed with Jones on the tour and he gave an insight into how bad things got out for the players in Madras.
“Those conditions were so oppressive, it’s hard to even imagine them now, the humidity was high 90 per cent, the temperature was in the 30s,” Waugh said.
“The Buckingham canal went around the ground and had this really strange odour to it, so that wafted across the ground and a lot of players were sick with dysentery and stomach upsets.
“(Jones) really lost control of his bodily functions towards the end of that innings, it took such a toll on his body. He lost 5-10kgs in that innings.”
HE CAN’T SEND ME OFF, CAN HE?
Border declared Australia’s first innings at 7-574 and then again in the second innings at 5-170, setting India a record 348 runs for victory.
But as the hosts had history on their minds and as they edged closer to a famous victory, tempers started to boil in the heat.
Border revealed he was almost sent off following an intense exchange with the umpires in the final session.
“The umpire at one stage came up to me and said ‘the over rate, you’ve got to hustle a bit more please captain’,” Border said.
“I basically said I wouldn’t be worried about the over rate, it’s bright sunshine, just let us play.
“Words to that effect but there were a few expletives in there, I blame heatstroke, and he threatened to send me off.
“I wasn’t too sure about getting sent off in cricket and I said ‘Hey Boonie, he can’t send me off can he? And Boonie just looked and me and gave me “I don’t know” and walked off.
“Then I thought ok I better pull back a bit here because maybe you can get sent off in cricket.”
UMPIRE’S TRIGGER FINGER
The match came down to the final over and with three balls remaining, Australia needed one wicket and India required just two runs.
“I was thinking there’s no justice in this game, we’ve declared twice and we’re going to lose, this is bullshit,” Border said.
“Greg Matthews, he took 10 wickets in the match, he basically kept us in it and it came down to this incredible last hour of play because the game became so tight,” Border said.
“Full credit to India, they kept going right to the last wicket and I’m worried about Ravi Shastri just running down the wicket and hitting a six.
“We get down to the last over, it was one of those cat and mouse things, Shastri took the one, scores were all tied, we know it, they know it, the crowd knows it so it was just fever pitch the noise and there was two balls left to go in the game.”
Steve Waugh misfielded late in the contest and said he felt like he’d lost his side the match.
“I remember running in to try and save two runs and the ball bobbled and hit my wrist and AB was getting the teapot going,” Waugh said.
“I thought ‘Oh gee I’ve cost us a Test match here’ because Shastri got back for a couple of runs.”
Greg Matthews was bowling the final over – his 69th of the match – and Ravi Shastri hit him for a single to tie the game.
It put on strike No. 11 Maninder Singh who hadn’t scored a run in his three balls and seven minutes at the crease.
Matthews then produced one of the most famous Australian deliveries ever bowled in India and dismissed Singh with a contentious LBW.
“The umpire’s finger went up even before the appeal went up, I think he was keen to be a part of history and it was just chaos, people just running around,” Waugh said.
“It was chaotic scenes but we knew we’d achieved something pretty special in those conditions against India.
“A young side that wasn’t expected to do well, it was almost a turning point in Australian cricket.”
Border echoed the sentiment and said it felt like a victory for the Australians.
“It felt like we won it. It was a tie but it felt like we’d won it and India had lost it, that was the reaction from both camps,” Border said.