John Jameson (left) and Rohan Kanhai © Getty Images

On July 27, 1974, West Indies’s batting great Rohan Kanhai and Englishman John Jameson were involved in a world record partnership of 465 runs for the second-wicket for Warwickshire against Gloucestershire at Edgbaston. Sarang Bhalerao recalls the historic day for world cricket.

By the year 1974, Rohan Kanhai was into his 20th season of First-Class cricket and had already written his name in the annals of cricketing history with his batting exploits. For Warwickshire, Kanhai had scored a  1,000 plus runs  in  numerous seasons, with the year 1970 being his most prolific. That year he recorded 1,894 runs at an average of 57.39.

John Jameson’s batting revolved around his ability to hit the ball clean. He had played a couple of Test matches for England against India in 1971. He was one of the leading opening batsmen on the county circuit and was known for his attacking batting.

On the Saturday morning of July 27, Warwickshire won the toss and elected to bat first at Edgbaston. In the first over, they lost left-handed opener Neal Abberley off the bowling of John Dixon.  At No 3, the West Indian great walked in to face an inspired Gloucestershire attack.

Kanhai and Jameson then took the attack to the Gloucestershire bowlers. Pace or spin, nothing troubled the duo that day.  The fast-bowlers — Dixon, Julian Shackelton and Roger Knight — had no answer to the carnage. Even the spinners, John Mortimore and Philip Thorn couldn’t check the flow of runs. For five hours and 12 minutes, the second-wicket partnership was exhibiting exhilarating skills of batsmanship.

When the pair added the 456th run, they broke the world record of the second-wicket partnership held by Kamal Bhandarkar and Bhausaheb Nimbalkar for Maharashtra against Kathiawar at Poona in 1948.

The Jameson-Kanhai record has since been broken by Zahir Alam and Lalchand Rajput, who added 475 for Assam against Tripura at Guwahati in 1991. Kanhai and Jameson also set the record for the highest partnership for the second-wicket on English soil — bettering the 451-run stand shared by Sir Don Bradman and Bill Ponsford at The Oval in 1934.

Warwickshire were allowed to bat for only 100 overs, in which they scored 465 runs for the loss of only one wicket — which was no consolation for Gloucestershire by any means. Warwickshire didn’t require the services of Mike Smith and the West Indians Alvin Kallicharran and Deryck Murray. The innings had to be stopped at that point with Jameson finishing on an unbeaten 240 and Kanhai at 213 not out. Jameson later called it a ‘dream innings’. This was the era where there was a 100-over restriction on the first innings, and the two held nothing back in that allotted space as they marauded runs with consummate ease.

The moment of conquest was not without some drama. When the score was 447, Kanhai was put down and in the same over Jameson too was dropped with the pair only three runs away from the world record.
This was Kanhai’s second 400-plus alliance for Warwickshire. Six seasons earlier i.e. in 1968, he added 402 with Pakistan’s Billy Ibadulla against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge. Kanhai had scored 253 back then, which remained his highest score for the county.

The 465-run cushion helped Eddie Hemmings (eight wickets) and Bob Willis (five wickets) to bowl Warwickshire to an innings victory. Gloucestershire were dismissed for 243 and 161, thereby losing the game by an innings and 61 runs.

The year 1974 was also Jameson’s benefit season for Warwickshire. He received a purse of £13,500.

Brief scores:

Warwickshire 465 for 1 (John Jameson 240*, Rohan Kanhai 213*) beat Gloucestershire 243 (Malcolm Dunstan 52; Eddie Hemmings 6 for 87) and 161 (Mike Proctor 46; Bill Blenkiron 4 for 18, Bob Willis 4 for 31) by an innings and 61 runs.

(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)