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In June 1932 India, described in all contemporary reports as All-India, played their first Test match, at Lord's against England. In those days Tests against anyone other than Australia were of three days' duration and started on a Saturday with a rest day on the Sunday. This report appeared in The Cricketer for the week ending July 2, 1932.
1st day, Saturday June 25
Luckily England had in Jardine, the captain, a steel-hearted warrior to hold the pass, and he and Hammond pulled the game round. How came it about that the two Yorkshiremen and the Pride of Kent were so soon back in the pavilion?
Sutcliffe played an in-swinging yorker on to his leg-stump, Holmes's off stump was sent flying by an off break that came off the pitch like lightning, and Woolley ran himself out, calling for a second run wide of mid-on when the ball was literally in the right hand of Lall Singh, who returned it hard and true on the long hop to the wicketkeeper and Woolley was out by a yard and more. It was an extraordinary lapse of judgment on the part of a highly experienced cricketer who should have known that Lall Singh was about the best fields-man in an exceptionally good fielding side.
And here one must add that Sutcliffe and Holmes, because of a county match at Leeds, had not arrived in London until after midnight after a long and tiring journey. If Test matches are necessary--which they certainly are--some arrangement must in future be come to so as to ensure our representatives having a long night's rest before a Test match begins. The same fate, only rather worse,was also the lot of Hammond, who travelled from Swansea. Bowes, too, had come from Leeds. The counties benefit very considerably financially from the Tests, and it is imperative that their representatives should take the field in the best possible trim.
To return to the match. Jardine and Hammond had added 92 runs when immediately after lunch Hammond played on to a yorker. Paynter could not time the ball and at 166 Jardine's splendid innings came to an end by a smart catch at the wicket. He had saved his side, and his cast-iron defence, and his cool determination were never better emphasised. He had made 79 of the 147 runs scored while he was at the wickets. Ames started shakily. He might have been stumped off Nayudu before he had scored, though the ball was rather wide on the off side, and in the 40's he edged a ball of Amar Singh's which either the wicketkeeper or slip might have held, but he played a bold dashing innings full of strokes and enterprise which was of untold value. Robins timed the ball beautifully, and he and Ames put on 63 runs in thirty minutes. Brown was out a great catch off a hard hit low down in the gully, and Robins fell to second slip.
The bowling of Nissar, Amar Singh; Nayudu, and Khan was really good. Loose balls were very seldom seen, and all the bowlers came fast off the ground. Nissar was the most successful, but Amar Singh was probably the best. Nayudu is a clever bowler. Medium pace he flights the ball, can spin it from the off and sends down a faster delivery. All their bowlers bowl with a very free loose arm. Amar Singh had, to begin with, three slips, and three short legs. The attack was first-class and the batsmen never got on top of it, supported as it was by brilliant and very quick fielding - a delight to all. Navle was smart at the wicket, but he missed two or three chances, and might be even more effective if there were a little less flourish about his work.
Bad light twice interrupted India's innings. Thirty were scored without loss. Bowes, bowling from the Pavilion end, was a great disappointment, and on Saturday night's form was a sheer waste of a new ball. Nowadays the umpires decide on the fitness or otherwise of the light. The batsmen are not allowed to appeal. Will Mr. James Douglas please remember this.
The Indians undoubtedly took the honours of the first day's play, especially as Nazir Ali, a fine allrounder, was off the field most of the time with a pulled muscle.
2nd day, Monday June 27
The England bowling looked much better than it had done on Saturday evening, but for a long time the Indians held their own and at lunch the score was 153 for 4. After lunch there was a collapse and by twenty past three the innings was all over for 189 which gave England the useful lead of 70 runs. The bowling was very well managed by Jardine and the fielding was excellent, Paynter, Robins and Voce and Brown particularly so. Ames had some nasty balls to take on the leg side and did very well. It would not be correct to say that the attack was of a high class but it was at any rate, reasonably good. Robins looked the most difficult, and deserved another wicket or two. Voce was accurate and had some devil, but we would prefer to see him bowl with one short leg less and with a slip. Bowes is a far better bowler when he bowls a length. He is apt to bowl too short and simply wasted the new ball on Saturday evening. He is very tall and brings the ball down from a great height, but he is doing his side no good by pitching the ball nearer his own than the batsman's stumps. To opening batsmen he must bowl a length so as to give his swing and pace off the ground more chance of a wicket. Brown bowled a fair length and sent down a good googlie--but his leg break is not so prominent as it was.
England started even worse than in their first innings Sutcliffe, Holmes, Hammond, and Woolley being out for 67 runs. Sutcliffe was a long way below his best, but Woolley and Hammond both made some lovely strokes before being out - Woolley being caught at slip. Once again Jardine stepped into the breach at a crisis, and ably assisted by Paynter brought the score to 141 before the close of play. Jardine's bat was as straight and as broad as it always is, and Paynter batted far better than on Saturday, and made some clean drives and pulls. He showed good nerve and judgment at a critical moment and is deserving of all praise. The Indians' fielding was magnificent.
3rd day, Tuesday June 28Paynter was soon out unluckily playing a ball on to his foot whence it rebounded on to his stumps. Ames left at 169, but Jardine was in great form and first with Robins and then with Brown runs were added so fast that at half-past twelve the innings was declared closed, 134 runs having been made in one hour and a half. It would be impossible to overpraise Jardine's batting. In both innings he faced a very difficult situation with great courage and coolness and on this third day he played some beautiful strokes on the off side.
With the pitch a little worn nobody expected India to get the runs and with seven wickets down for 108 a tame finish seemed certain, but Amar Singh played a remarkable innings. He hit Robins for 19 in one over, including a six, and in 45 minutes he and Lall Singh put on 74 runs. He certainly was magnificent on both sides of the wicket, and with his long reach he got to the spinning deliveries of Robins and hit them with rare power. Lall Singh should have been stumped earlier on off Robins. He played very well, using his supple wrists to advan tage. It was Hammond who got.rid of both batsmen and Nissar, and by ten minutes past four the match was over and England. who had on two occasions during the match had been in trouble, won easily.
Notes1. The Indians fully deserved the honour of a Test match. Their bowling was definitely good and their fielding admirable, quick and very clean, but not so fine nor so good as England. Their wicketkeeper good, but not so good as he looks.
© The Cricketer
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