The Spin | How umpire sparked riot in India v Australia series of deadly disorder

Fifty years ago this week, Srinivas Venkataraghavan was given out in Mumbai, prompting mayhem that disfigured the first Test and beyond

Srinivas Venkataraghavan is one of the great figures of Indian cricket. His Test career lasted nearly 18 years, since when he has been a manager, an elite umpire, an administrator and a commentator. A fine off-spinner and occasionally useful lower-order batsman, Venkat retired with a batting average of only 11.68 and the poor shot he played in Mumbai precisely 50 years ago this Friday would have been one of many. This one just had particularly significant consequences.

Having been parachuted into the team at the last minute following a popular outcry Venkat was playing in his 10th Test, the first of a five-match series against Australia, and India were hurtling to already near?certain defeat. They were 114 for seven in their second innings, nursing an advantage of precisely 40 over the tourists and needing something of a miracle. At which point Alan Connolly bowled, Venkat swung his bat and the ball whistled through to Brian Taber, the Australia wicketkeeper. There was a half-hearted appeal, in response to which the umpire Sambhu Pan unexpectedly raised his finger, and it was at this point that all hell broke loose.

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