Tony Greig’s part was far from over. He batted throughout the day and ended on 94. It was not a pretty inning to watch, nor was it one in character, but no captain of England has played innings more important to his side. He played the spinners from the crease, taking an off-stump guard to Bishan Singh Bedi and often using his pads for balls pitched just outside the leg stump.
The ball was turning and lifting, and batting was far from easy, but in intense heat and with a temperature above one hundred, Tony Greig survived, and with Old proving, another brave partner, England were 130 ahead by the end of the third day. At the end of the day, Greig was totally exhausted, but he remembers vividly the encouragement given to him by the rest of the side and the support of Bob Willis and manager Ken Barrington, in particular.
He later described 3 January 1977 at Kolkata, as ‘one of the longest, most uncomfortable and most fulfilling days of my life’. Shortly after midnight, he woke with a raging fever. He bathed and the bedclothes were changed in an effort to bring him some comfort. At three in the morning, Bernard Thomas was summoned and offered what medication he could.
He suggested that Tony Greig try to forget about time and get as much rest as possible. It was advice that was difficult to follow. He ate breakfast under instruction from Bernard Thomas, for he needed the sustenance to see him through the day. He spoke as little as possible and sat in the dressing room, drinking a considerable amount of liquid that Thomas prescribed and taking the occasional tablet.
Tony Greig wasn’t quiet very often, but after batting all day at Eden Gardens in January 1977 I suspect this absolutely shattered-looking Greigy just wanted to put his feet up when he got back into the dressing room.