A hundred and sixteen Tests with close to 7000 runs. An average of more than 40 with 17 centuries. Dilip Balwant Vengsarkar celebrates his 60th birthday today, on April 6 and it is a good time to look back at the career of one of Indian batting's bulwarks in the 1980's.
A talented teenager, Vengsarkar's talent took time to blossom but once it did, there was no stopping the man. He hit an incredible purple patch between the years 1986 and 1988 where he hit eight hundreds in 16 Tests.
His finest moment however is a record which stands till date – Vengsarkar remains the only overseas batsman to score three consecutive centuries at the home of cricket, the Lord's Cricket Ground in London. The first two centuries came in 1979 and 1982 – Vengsarkar scored 103 and 157 but India drew the first match and lost the second.
But his last century in 1986 paved the way for a historic day in Indian cricket. India had never won at Lord's but they had managed to bowl England out for only 295. They needed to put up a good batting performance and Vengsarkar did just that, scoring a determined 126 to ensure India had a slim 45-run lead. His contribution was vital: India managed to go on and win their first ever Test match at Lords, thanks to Vengsarkar's special knock.
But Vengsarkar's exploits were not restricted to just the longer format. In the semi-finals of the 1985 World Championship of Cricket where India played New Zealand, Vengsarkar played a brilliant hand, scoring 63 not out to take India home to the finals where they defeated Pakistan.