Bob Willis
Bob Willis

Former England fast bowler and captain Bob Willis died after a short illness at the age of 70 on Wednesday.

Here, AFP Sport takes a look at five of Willis’ greatest performances in a glittering career which puts him fourth on England’s all-time list with 325 Test wickets:

8-43 v Australia
Third Test at Headingley, 1981

— The most memorable spell of Willis’ career came in the famous third Ashes match in 1981 as a side following on won a Test for only the second time. Ian Botham hammered a memorable 149 not out as England, trailing 1-0 in the six-Test series, managed to set Australia 130 to win on the final day. Willis charged in for 15.1 overs as first change, taking his best figures in international cricket. He bowled Ray Bright to secure an incredible 18-run victory, before England went on to win the series 3-1.

READ ALSO: Sports among students promote oneness – ED

5-42 v West Indies
Fourth Test at Headingley, 1976

— Willis was brought back into the England team after injury problems with the hosts trailing the mighty West Indies 1-0 with two matches to play. He had by 1976 undergone surgery on both of his troublesome knees, but proved he still had a future in Test cricket by claiming five wickets in the Windies second innings to keep England’s hopes in the series alive. His efforts were in vain, however, as the home side fell 56 runs short in a chase of 260.

5-27 v India
Second Test at Eden Gardens, 1977

— Willis inspired England to a brilliant 10-wicket victory over India in Calcutta in January 1977, which remained their only win at Eden Gardens until Alastair Cook’s team repeated the feat in 2012. In front of a massive crowd, Willis defied the spin-friendly conditions to help bowl the Indians out for 155 in the first innings. England went on to seal a 3-1 series triumph.

7-78 v Australia
First Test at Lord’s, 1977

— England’s dominant success against an Australian side severely depleted by Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket in 1977 opened with a draw at Lord’s. The hosts were surprisingly bowled out for only 216 in their first innings, but Willis hit back by taking seven wickets from 30.1 overs to keep the Aussies to 296. Willis ended the series as the leading wicket-taker with 27 scalps as England won 3-0.

5-65 v West Indies
First Test at Trent Bridge, 1980

— In another blistering spell against the Windies in a losing cause, Willis took 5-65 but was not supported enough to prevent England slipping to a two-wicket loss in Nottingham. He claimed nine wickets in the match, but Desmond Haynes’ 62 helped the Caribbean outfit over the line. The final four Tests were drawn as the Windies edged the series 1-0.


Subscribe for latest Videos


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.