Watch: Manoj Prabhakar finds massive swing, bowls Kepler Wessels through his legs in 1993 Cape Town Test
Watch: At Cape Town in 1992/93, Manoj Prabhakar clean bowled Kepler Wessels with the third ball of a Test match.
Prabhakar rendered yeoman services to Indian cricket with both bat and ball between 1989 and 1995. With India going through a drought of specialist openers, he was often promoted to the top, and he responded with a hundred in Test cricket and two more in ODIs.
He opened batting and bowling in the same match 21 times in Test cricket and 45 times in ODIs. Both remain world records in men’s cricket to this day.
As a bowler, his greatest legacy began on the 1989/90 tour of Pakistan, when he picked up reverse swing. Not only did he ace the craft – not easy for a medium-paced bowler – but he also brought it to India.
His 96 Test wickets at 37.30 do not do justice to his potential, but his 157 ODI wickets – while going at 4.27 an over – certainly do, especially when combined with his runs.
Wessels, on the other hand, was South Africa’s first captain in Test matches since their reintroduction to cricket as well as the first man to lead them in World Cups.
He had made a hundred on Test debut, but that was for Australia. For South Africa, he had lost his first Test match as captain (a one-off in Bridgetown), but was about to win his first series as captain.
South Africa had taken a 1-0 lead in the series. This was the last Test match. Wessels himself had made 59 and 74 in Bridgetown and, in this series, 118 and 32, 5 and 11, 0 and 95 not out.
When he made that duck, he had fallen fourth ball – bowled by a Prabhakar yorker. Here, after Andrew Hudson played out a maiden over from Kapil Dev, Prabhakar ran in to bowl the second over.
Prabhakar’s third ball was in line. The left-handed Wessels assumed that it would swing away from him, for that was Prabhakar’s stock ball. Instead, it swung into Wessels, leaving him in no place to play a shot, or even defend the ball.
All he could do was watch in horror, his bat stuck on the ground, as the ball uprooted the middle stump.