August 15, 1982 – When three England players bagged ducks after eating duck

August 15, 1982 – When three England players bagged ducks after eating duck

Three England cricketers tried to break the hoodoo on that day and paid the price.

Derek Pringle, Allan Lamb, David Gower and Robin Jackman
England players Derek Pringle, Allan Lamb, David Gower and Robin Jackman. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

England hosted Pakistan for a 2-match ODI series and a 3-match Test series in 1982 which was expected to be competitive given Pakistan’s pace bowling strength. The hosts clinched the ODI series easily but the Test series turned out to be a challenge for both the teams. England got away in the first Test at Birmingham with a big 113-run win. However, Pakistan bounced back strongly in the 2nd Test match at Lord’s that started on August 12th. Pakistan elected to bat first and posted a stiff total batting out two days amidst the rain.

Opener Mohsin Khan scored exactly 200 as the visiting side made 428/8 before they declared their innings. England were nine down for 226 at end of the 3rd day as five batsmen scored between 29 and 33 while the remaining players failed to get into double digits. Not eating duck on the day or the day before batting was one of the weird superstitions maintained by cricketers. Three England cricketers tried to break the hoodoo on that day (14th August) and paid the price.

Eating and scoring ducks:

The overnight batsman Robin Jackman (0*) and the home team’s No.3 Allan Lamb and No.4 David Gower, the skipper decided to visit a restaurant in St John’s Wood that evening. The trio decided to break the superstition and ordered duck. Jackman was dismissed for a duck on the next morning (15th August) as England were bundled out for 227; adding only one run to their overnight score. Pakistan, who took a 201-run first innings lead, enforced a follow-on.

Derek Randall was cleaned up by Mudassar Nazar for a 33-ball 9; scoring all the nine runs during his 46-minute stay. Lamb, who walked out at No.3, lasted a minute as he was trapped for nought on the 2nd ball he faced in the same over. Nazar got the better of the opposition skipper in his next over as Gower edge one to the keeper Wasim Bari before he opened his account in the three balls he faced. Thus, the trio of Jackman, Lamb and Gower bagged ducks in the first hour in the morning after having duck for dinner.

In an interview with The Independent in 1992, Allan Lamb revisited the day when they ate duck for dinner. ”We do have a superstition over duck, though – we never eat it if we’ve still got to bat the next day. This stems back to a few years ago, when we were playing Pakistan. They’d scored 500, and David, Robin Jackman and myself took ourselves off to a restaurant that evening in St John’s Wood and had the canard.”

A comfortable win for the visitors:

Zaheer Abbas
Zaheer Abbas batting for Pakistan during his innings of 75. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto/Getty Images)

England were reeling at 9/3 at end of the duck tales but the opener Chris Tavare and Ian Botham produce enough resilience helped by rain intervals kept England at bay. The pair added 112 for the 4th wicket but more importantly, they survived more than three hours at the crease. Botham scored 69 off 156 while Tavare made a 277-ball 82 by batting out 406 minutes. However, lack of big contributions from the batsmen after the century stand saw the hosts being bowled out for 276.

Though England made only 276 in the 2nd innings, they lasted 119.5 overs as Pakistan needed 76 runs to win from 18 possible overs. Gower’s tactics to spread the field didn’t matter as the visiting side registered their maiden Test win at Lord’s. They made 78 in 13.1 overs without losing a wicket. However, Pakistan couldn’t seal a series win as they lost the final Test at Leeds by three wickets despite an all-round performance for their skipper Imran Khan.

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