Has it really been 25 years since I was a witness to Tied Test II? In my mind's eye it is as clear as though it happened yesterday. Among all the memorable happenings as they unfolded over the five days from September 18 to 22, I can remember best the climactic act of the Hitchcock-laced suspense drama - a tireless Greg Matthews, sleeves buttoned at the wrist, wearing the baggy green running in to bowl to Maninder Singh.
The Indian No.11 goes back, is rapped on the pads, there is an impassioned appeal and umpire Vikram Raju lifts his finger. The near capacity crowd erupts. They know that they have had the rare privilege of being part of cricket history - only the second Tied Test in the 1052nd game spread over 109 years.
But I am ahead of my story. A quick flashback to the morning of September 18. Actually the start of the Test match was pretty prosaic. Despite a splendid 122 by David Boon, Australia could only make 211 for two at stumps on the first day. On the second day however there occurred one of the most heroic displays on a cricket field.
The MA Chidambaram stadium was a veritable cauldron. September is known as "second summer" in this metropolis and those five days were thoroughly in keeping with this saying. The heat and humidity was energy sapping and in these adverse conditions when cricketers unused to them would have collapsed, there was one batsman who stuck it out like few men have on a cricket field.
Image: Australian team players posing for photo before a Tied Test rematch featuring all the players who played in the only the second Tied Test in cricket history at Chennai in September 1986. This match was played at Guru Nanak college grounds in Chennai on March 16, 2001.