There are some innings that have simply defied description. The double-century by Javed Miandad against Essex at Colchester in 1981 was certainly in this category. His efforts came during a record-breaking season for the mercurial Pakistani batsman. During the summer, he amassed a club record 2,083 runs to finish the season with an average of 69.43 – the highest ever recorded by a Glamorgan batsman – whilst his tally of eight centuries was also a new club record.
Javed`s innings came during a game which Essex, pressing for the Championship, badly needed to win. But the home team began poorly as seamers Malcolm Nash and Simon Daniels took three wickets each, whilst Rodney Ontong took 4/37 with his fast-medium bowling. When Glamorgan batted, Javed Miandad and Norman Featherstone shared a partnership of 130 for the fourth wicket, before Miandad became one of six victims for Essex spinner David Acfield.
With a first innings lead of 87, and the wicket taking spin, Glamorgan appeared to be in the driving seat, but Essex openers Graham Gooch and Brian Hardie shared an opening stand of 169, as both batsmen scored centuries. Although Robin Hobbs took five wickets against his former employers, the other Glamorgan bowlers were simply overwhelmed by the Essex onslaught and failed to exploit the conditions.
The net result was that Glamorgan were left needing 325 in 323 minutes on the final day, and they were soon in deep trouble at 7-2, with Alan Jones and Rodney Ontong cheaply removed. But this only hastened the arrival of Javed Miandad, to play what his colleagues and opponents alike later described as the finest innings they had ever seen.
Despite the further loss of John Hopkins and Norman Featherstone, Javed farmed the strike and displayed an almost magical repertoire of shots, some bordering on the audacious, on a wicket that was giving the spinners lavish assistance. Time and again, Javed reverse-swept rising and turning balls, or flicked the bowler nonchalantly against the spin with a wicked grin on his face. After providing watchful support, Alan Lewis Jones and Eifion Jones fell to the spin combination of Acfield and East. Barry Lloyd soon followed, as well as Robin Hobbs first ball, but not before Javed had taken the score from 227 to 270, cheekily stealing a single at the end of every over, and protecting Hobbs for almost ten overs!
Malcolm Nash and Simon Daniels also defended with spirit, forcing Keith Fletcher to recall his quicker bowlers in an attempt to halt Javed`s dominance. Lever responded to his captain`s call, dismissing both of the tailenders, leaving Miandad unbeaten on 200 and Glamorgan just 13 runs short of their target. The Pakistani genius left the field to a rousing ovation and handshakes from all of the Essex fielders, who had watched, almost in awe, at Javed`s single-handed mastery of their bowling.
As one Essex stalwart said afterwards, “the pitch was tinder dry and batting on it in the final innings was really impossible. Yet Javed never looked like getting out – it was as if he was batting on a different wicket. We simply could not believe our eyes!”