Birthday special: Vijay Merchant – Top 3 performances in international cricket


The term ‘the next Don Bradman’ gets thrown around a lot these days, but India’s Vijay Merchant was widely considered to be in the same class as the Aussie legend. Merchant was renowned for his ability to blunt bowling attack with his imperious defensive attributes. In a Test career that spanned nearly two decades, Merchant scored runs at an impressive average of 47.72. He scored three centuries in his entire Test career, with all three coming against the formidable bowling attack of England, which is a testament to his batting abilities. On his 111th birth anniversary, we list the pioneering cricketer’s most notable performances for India:

126 against England, 1946

India traveled to the Oval for the third and final Test of the series against England. Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi, once a Test cricketer for England, won the toss for India and elected to bat first in the match. The visitors got off to a solid start thanks to 94-run stand between Vijay Merchant and Mushtaq Ali before the latter was run out. Merchant continued on his merry way, registering a handsome century in the match, which eventually turned out to be his last at the English shores. His marathon innings ensured that India finished with a healthy total of 331 runs as the game was called off due to persistent rain in the country.

114 against England, 1936

Vijay Merchant liked playing against England, especially in their own backyard. The Indian bulwark was at his supreme best in the second Test of the series in Manchester. The Indians batted first in the match but were bundled out for just 203 runs after the batters failed to contribute with any notable performance. The hosts took advantage of their opponent’s shortcomings and compiled a mammoth 571/8 on the back of Wally Hammond’s sumptuous 167. India were under the pump and needed their batters to step up to the challenge in the second innings, which is what exactly happened. Merchant, along with Mushtaq Ali, stitched together a record-setting opening stand of 203 runs as India managed to draw the game from an unlikely position.

154 against England, 1951

Nigel Howard’s English side travelled to Delhi for what turned out to be Vijay Merchant’s farewell game. The visitors batted first in the match, scoring 203 runs after Sadu Shinde’s six-for rattled them. India, in reply, stumbled after the early departure of Pankaj Roy and Polly Umrigar. But Vijay Merchant held the fort from one end, receiving valiant support from the Indian skipper Vijay Hazare. The duo registered 211 runs for the 3rd wicket, with Merchant compiling a glittering ton to pull curtains on his international career. His final Test score of 154 runs was the highest of his career.