First Test Match

Australia v India

Toss: Australia. Test debuts: Australia - J.W.Gleeson, A.P.Sheahan; India - S.Abid Ali, U.N.Kulkarni.

The margin of victory was substantial, yet India showed definite signs of improvement.

Engineer batted stylishly; he threw away his chance of a century in the first innings after tearing Australia's pace attack apart. Borde, captain in the absence of the injured Pataudi, set an example of responsible batting in the first innings when he grafted for over three hours in scoring 69, and Subramanya gave splendid batting support in the second innings.

Surti and Abid Ali achieved excellent all-round performances. Surti batted with polish in making 70 and 53, and he took five wickets for 74 runs in Australia's second innings. His bowling showed more quality than did Abid Ali's, despite that medium-pacer's astonishing six for 55 in the first innings. Prasanna bowled well and Chandrasekhar made some impression before his foot injury troubled him.

Renneberg, five for 39, in the last innings of the match, shattered Indian hopes of a fighting finish; moreover, Engineer, when again batting menacingly, ran himself out. India missed opportunities, especially when they were 250 for three in their first innings yet failed to overhaul Australia's 335. In Australia's second innings India dropped vital catches.

Sheahan made a splendid Test debut for Australia. His 81 was a feature of the opening day. Cowper contributed a valuable 92 in that first innings; he and Simpson made centuries in the second innings when their attractive third-wicket stand for 172 runs lifted Australia out of an awkward situation.

Simpson and Lawry batted through the pre-lunch session on the first day; but immediately after the resumption Abid Ali dismissed them both.

In the last session of play Prasanna disposed of Sheahan, Redpath and Chappell in quick succession, but Australia finished the day with 311 for six.

Abid Ali cleaned up the Australia batting on Monday (Christmas Day), Engineer (fourteen 4's) sent India on the way, with scorching stroke play; and the Australian attack was not impressive. Engineer was severe on the new ball.

Jarman, standing up close for Connolly, brought off a superb stumping to dismiss Wadekar. Simpson called for the second new ball ten minutes before close of play and cheap wickets resulted.

© John Wisden & Co