Gooch recalls Mumbai hundred

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011

Andrew Strauss became the third England batsman to score a World Cup century against India with his magnificent 158 in Bangalore.

Dennis Amiss and Graham Gooch are the others to have achieved the feat and the latter, like Strauss, rates the hundred he scored as his greatest limited overs-innings.

Huge underdogs for their 1987 semi-final clash with the hosts at the Wankhede Stadium, England silenced the Indian crowd by recording a fine 35-run win largely set up by Gooch.

Graham Gooch

Sweeping all before him: Graham Gooch adopts a familiar pose during his century in the 1987 semi-final against India

The Essex opener cracked a marvellous 115, sweeping the India spinners at will to help England to 254 for six - a score Mike Gatting's side defended comfortably.

"It was my best one-day innings," Gooch told ecb.co.uk.

"I had spent a lot of the time planning how I was going to bat against India and then practising that plan in the nets. It all went to perfection. It was satisfying. India were the fancied team.

"But it wasn't just me. Gatt played well and the bowlers did their bit. I was just pleased to contribute to an England win."

What made Gooch's knock all the more remarkable was his use of the sweep shot which negated India's dangerous slow left-armers Maninda Singh and Ravi Shastri.

It was an attacking move, as his tally of 11 boundaries suggests, and a pre-planned one too with hours spent in the nets honing that stroke prior to facing India.

"The wickets were slow and turned a bit as they had been used a few times," explained Gooch, who won the man of the match award.

"It would be to the home team's advantage with their spinners. Most sides played with two spinners so you needed to work the ball around and target the areas where you would play your big shots. Those middle overs are crucial. You have to keep the ball moving."

Unfortunately England could not repeat that performance when they met Australia in the final three days later.

Graham Gooch

A distraught Gooch prepares to trudge off after being caught in the 1992 World Cup final, which Pakistan won by 22 runs

Chasing 254 for a first World Cup title, England appeared on course when they reached 170 for three but disaster struck when Bill Athey was run out and Gatting's side finished seven runs adrift.

"We had beaten India in the semi-final but did not get our game right against Australia," said Gooch.

"In 1987 and 1992 we played good cricket throughout the tournament but did not get it right on the day. In both finals we were expected to win."

Gooch is the only Englishman to have appeared in three World Cup finals - he also played in the 1979 defeat to West Indies - and not winning a trophy is something which still rankles to this day.

"I don't really have many regrets about anything in my career," he said.

"I was fortunate enough to play for a long time, for both England and Essex, and had many great moments both personally and as a team.

"But to get to a World Cup final three times and not take the trophy home once was hard to take."

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