Second Test Match

Australia v India

At Melbourne, December 30, January 1, 2, 3. Australia won by an innings and four runs, their effort being led at the outset by McKenzie with some magnificent bowling and later consolidated by Simpson and Lawry in an opening partnership of 191.

Still, India produced some highly spectacular batting; indeed, every other personal achievement in this match was overshadowed by the thrilling performance of their captain the Nawab of Pataudi.

Despite the dual handicap of blurred vision from his damaged right eye and being partly crippled by a pulled hamstring muscle, Pataudi in batting which displayed brilliance, selectively and determination, registered an aggregate of 160 runs. His gallant 75 in the first innings came when his team were in a disastrous situation; his second innings of 85 all but averted the innings margin of the defeat. Pataudi combined batting genius with courage in a manner that warmed the hearts of all.

When Pataudi had won the toss he decided to bat. It was not an easy decision, although Simpson said he would have batted had he had the say. Pataudi would have been influenced by a lack of faith in his pace bowling and the hope of his spinners operating on a wearing pitch in an Australian second innings.

The slightly green strip in the early stages provided some lift, and McKenzie, in one of his finest displays, squeezed out the full advantage. Well supported by Renneberg, he captured six wickets for 26 runs in his first nine overs, and India finished the day with 156 for eight, Pataudi being 70 not out (seven 4's) after three and a half hours of defiant batting.

Pataudi survived a few difficult chances in his early stages; but these slices of luck were not counted against him, so great was the admiration for his batting. He was severely restricted in front-foot play by his leg strain, and refused many singles. Yet he executed aggressive strokes, including several pugnacious hooks.

This was Pataudi"s first innings of the tour in a first-class game and he went in when four wickets had gone for 25. Pataudi added only five runs on the second day.

Simpson and Lawry engaged in their ninth Test century stand. Lawry reached his century one hour faster than Simpson. Chappell, after several lives, but with periods of good footwork, became the third century-maker of the innings, this being his first Test hundred.

Australia reached the crushing total of 529, but Engineer led a counter-attack by India with exciting batting, and the two left-handers, Wadekar and Surti, engaged in a brisk stand of 116 runs. Wadekar was 97 at close of play on the fourth day; but he added only two runs.

On the last day Pataudi repeated his great batting performance in perhaps even more spectacular fashion, so that his team reached the highly respectable total of 352. Whereas, in the first innings seven of his eight boundaries were from legside hits, in this second innings he several times lifted the fast bowlers over the infield with off-side drives.

India's bowlers in this match suffered from many missed catches; but little Prasanna stuck to the task and was fittingly rewarded with six wickets in Australia's big innings.

© John Wisden & Co