Flashback: The batsman who scored India’s first-ever Test double century

India have produced several batting greats. Right from the times of CK Nayudu, to Gundappa Viswanath, to Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and today Virat Kohli, there has never been a dearth of quality in the batting department. All these legends have their names in history books for having their name next to most batting records in the country. However, one name that has often gone under the radar and has almost been forgotten today, is the legendary Polly Umrigar, who was the first Indian to score a 200.

Polly Umrigar was nothing but brilliant. He was the player who had almost every Indian batting record to his name in the 1950s. He made his debut in 1948 and went on to play 59 Tests, scoring 3631 runs, at an average of 42.2. He was a glorious batsman to watch and right amongst the best in the world. But it was in 1955 where his name was all over the country.

The landmark double

In the 1st Test of New Zealand’s tour to India, India won the toss and elected to bat first. They lost an early wicket of Pankaj Roy, but Umrigar joined Vinoo Mankad in the middle and both of them steadied the ship. However, Mankad too was dismissed with the score at 48. That is when Vijay Manjrekar, another Indian great, joined hands with Umrigar. Both of them had an outstanding partnership. They played measured cricket, playing the ball on merit, and soon both of them brought up their respective 100s.

While Manjrekar was dismissed for 118, Umrigar kept going. He now got together with the debutant AG Kripal Singh. Vijay’s dismissal didn’t deter Umrigar at all and kept surging ahead. He finally got to the unbelievable landmark as he scored his 200th run amongst much fanfare. He was finally dismissed for a record-breaking 223, as India notched up 498. Even though they got New Zealand to follow on, they couldn’t win the game. But it was surely one of the most historic games, from an Indian perspective.