It had been done 32 times in Test cricket history. Only two Indians had done it before. Vijay Hazare had registered 116 and 145 against Australia in Adelaide in 1948. Sunil Gavaskar already had scored a hundred in each innings of a Test twice – 124 and 220 against the West Indies in Port of Spain in 1971, and 111 and 137 against Pakistan in Karachi in 1978.Forty four days after the record-breaking effort at Karachi, Gavaskar was at it again. It was the third Test between a Kerry-Packer hit depleted West Indian side and India at The Eden Gardens in Calcutta. Gavaskar won the toss and elected to bat. Sylvester Clarke and Malcolm Marshall saw the back of Chauhan and Gaekwad in quick succession before Gavaskar and Viswanath resurrected the innings with a solid 62-run third-wicket partnership. Vengsarkar also chipped in with 42 but his exit triggered a collapse. However, Gavaskar stood tall at one end defying the West Indian pace attack. Even as wickets tumbled around him, the Indian opener marched on and registered his hundred towards the end of play on Day 1. He was finally dismissed for 107 with the team score at 220.

India managed to score 300 and West Indies replied with 327. Gavaskar and Vengsarkar batted with intent and aggression in the second innings and stitched an unbeaten 344 run-stand for the second wicket. Gavaskar was particularly attacking and hit a number of boundaries as he raced to his second hundred of the match – in the process he became the first batsman in the history of Test cricket to register a hundred in each innings of a Test on three occasions – achieving the feat on the 2nd day of the New Year in 1979.

The pair dominated the West Indian attack before India declared at 361 after facing just 93 overs – at a run-rate of 3.88. Gavaskar remained unbeaten on a magnificent 182. West Indies, chasing 335, suffered a late collapse and were lucky to save the Test, ending at 197 for 9.

Strangely, Gavaskar was booed and pelted with oranges by an unruly Eden crowd after he walked back to the pavilion post the second innings declaration. Apparently, they were unhappy that he did not delay the declaration till his double hundred!

However, Gavaskar’s feat remained unbroken for more than 27 years till the 27th of March, 2006 when Ricky Ponting, with his twin hundreds in Durban against South Africa – 103 and 116 – became the second player in the history of Test cricket to register hundreds in each innings of a Test thrice.

David Warner is the only other batsman (apart from Gavaskar and Ponting) to have achieved this feat.

Overall, 67 batsmen (on 84 occasions) have registered a hundred in each innings of a Test at least once. Warren Bardsley of Australia was the first to do so – against England at The Oval in 1909. Brendan Taylor was the last batsman to have his name on the honours board – against Bangladesh in Dhaka in 2018.
Eleven batsmen among these have done this twice.

Dravid (twice) and Kohli and Rahane (once each) are the only other Indian batsmen to have accomplished this record.

First Published: January 2, 2019, 12:04 AM IST