Throwback Thursday: Viv’s amazing day

© ALAIN LOCKYER 2000 VIV RICHARDS AFTER SCORING HIS 322Photo: ALAIN LOCKYER.

It hardly seems possible to think that it is almost 32 years since Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards scored 322 runs in a day.

At the time this remarkable achievement was also the highest ever First Class innings score by  a Somerset player.

Viv’s amazing exploits on June 1st 1985 eclipsed the previous best of 310 which was scored by Harold Gimblett against Sussex at The Saffrons Ground in Eastbourne in 1948.

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When skipper Vic Marks won the toss on that bright sunny morning he elected to bat first against Warwickshire.

The innings didn’t start well for Somerset when young opener Paul Bail had to retire hurt on eight after being struck on the helmet by a short delivery from a fiery Gladstone Small, who then had Nigel Felton caught at slip next ball.

After these early setbacks a lot rested on the great man’s shoulders, but nobody could have expected what was to unfold as he strode to the wicket to join Nigel Popplewell with the score on 28 for one.

© ALAIN LOCKYER 2000VIV RICHARDS LAST DAY AT TAUNTONPhoto: ALAIN LOCKYER. GOLDEN YEARS__225

Whenever Viv walked down the steps of the Colin Atkinson Pavilion and out onto the pitch there was always generous applause, and as he approached the wicket a hush of expectation fell around the ground.

He started a little bit warily but soon got the measure of the Warwickshire attack and was soon seeing the ball like a football as he demonstrated his full array of shots, the cheeky cuts and the outrageous hooks were all on display as he went to his first century off just 105 balls.

His second century came even quicker (76 balls) and once he had 200 on the board you started to wonder just how far he could go!

His third ton came off just 63 deliveries and he had moved onto 322 when he was bowled by Anthonie Ferreira, by which time Somerset had moved onto 507 for four.

© ALAIN LOCKYER 2000  VIV RICHARDS AFTER SCORING HIS 322 Photo: ALAIN LOCKYER.

The home team eventually declared on 566 for five whilst the visitors declared on 442 for nine thanks to an unbeaten century from Ferreira.

A second half-century of the match from Marks enabled Somerset to set Warwickshire 351 for victory but time simply ran out as the match ended in a draw.

Viv’s amazing innings lasted just under five hours and he scored his runs off 258 balls, hitting eight sixes and 42 fours.

This was Viv Richards at his very best and those who were lucky enough to have been there that day will never forget it.