English batsmen, Mike Gatting was hit by Malcolm Marshall on this day and a piece of his nose bone was stuck to the ball


Only last week the Windies have completed an unexpected 2-1 win over England, a series win appeared after 10 long years. But it was not the case during the 80’s. A fearsome West Indies team against a pretty mediocre England team resulted in some of the very one-sided matches. Special mention should go towards the two consecutive 5-0 wins for West Indies during 1984 and 1985-86 series. These 5-0 wins for West Indies were also known as ‘Blackwash’.

It was not only the losses but the fear which was brought to English players through either aggressive bowling by the West Indian quicks or the squash buckling stroke played by their batsmen had a long-standing impact on English players psyche. One of such incidents occurred on 18th February 1986.

Here Goes The Perfume Story

England were touring West Indies for a five test series. They were also supposed to play four ODIs, one each before each of the first four test matches. In the first One Day International scheduled at Sabina Park, Kingston England were batting against a pace attack consists of Joel Garner, Patrick Patterson, Courtney Walsh, and Malcolm Marshall. It was an unprepared team facing one of the world’s best bowling attack and things moved in an expected way. Opener Tim Robinson and first down David Gower (also the captain) went for four-ball ducks and England were 10 for the loss of two wickets. Mike Gatting came to bat and joined Graham Gooch.

Gatting With Broken Nose
Image Source – ESPNcricinfo

Gooch and Gatting batted slowly and survived the first spell of Garner and Patterson. But Walsh and Marshall came as first and second change respectively and there was no respite for the English batsmen. This was when a ‘perfume ball’, a quick bouncer very close to batsman’s face, from Marshall hit Gatting on the nose. For a few seconds, Gatting felt like he had gone through a brick wall as the pain started to grow. To make the matter worse the ball fell on the wicket after hitting his nose and he was bowled. He was taken off the ground and given basic treatment.

A Piece Of Nose Bone

When the ball was returned to Marshall, he found a piece of bone stuck in the leather. England team could only score which was easily chased by West Indies which started a horror tour for England where they lost eight out of the nine international matches.

For Gatting, he had to travel back to England with a broken nose and swollen face. At Heathrow airport, once he faced the journalists with black-eyes and a large piece of plasters on his nose, one confused journalist asked him, “Where exactly did he hit you?”

To his credit, Gatting became fit in the next few weeks and went back to the Caribbean before the third test match. But he had to suffer from a broken thumb on the day prior to the test match. He only played the fifth test match with not much success and England went down to complete a 0-5 thumping.

Also Read: On This Day – 17th Feb

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