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Toss: England. Test debuts: England - M.Baqa Jilani.
England won by nine wickets. At no time did India threaten to make a close fight and England won the rubber with ease. The gaining of first innings on a perfect pitch meant no inconsiderable advantage to the Englishmen, who had 422 runs on the board when their fourth wicket fell and declared first thing on Monday. As at Manchester Merchant and Mushtaq Ali gave India a good start, but England's slow bowling paralysed several of India's batsmen and the last six wickets fell for 37, involving India in a follow-on 249 behind. In the second innings, the pace of Allen, who took seven wickets for 80 runs, proved the telling factor. By close of play on Monday, three of the most dependable India batsmen were out, and despite a gallant innings after a painful injury by Nayudu, England were left the modest task of making 64 runs to win. Not the least satisfactory feature of the match from England's point of view was the high standard maintained in the field and more particularly in the slips. Not a catch was missed and the team worked together admirably while the bowling on an innocuous wicket had steadiness and stamina. As in the second Test, Hammond excelled all his colleagues in batting, but on this occasion he owed something to mistakes in the field.
Injuries caused R.W.V.Robins and Hardstaff to withdraw and the England eleven differed in four instances from that on duty at Old Trafford. Very wisely, only players forming the team to Australia were called upon and the side consisted of ten professionals under G. O. Allen. India brought in Jilani and Dilawar Hussain and as the latter kept wicket India had a different player in this position for each of the three Test engagements. Dilawar Hussain not only played two valuable, if unattractive innings but showed such abilities when keeping wicket that he did not concede a bye until near the finish.
In the opening stage of the match - the first Test engaged in at the Oval by a team from India - both Amar Singh and Nissar, before the dew evaporated, were able to make the ball rise and swerve. Fagg left at 19 but Barnett in a second-wicket stand of 74 in an hour with Hammond brought off some excellent drives and cuts and compared most favorably with his Gloucestershire colleague, who for some time erred in timing the ball. Indeed, with a little luck, Amar Singh might have disposed of Hammond for three runs, Nayudu, the short square leg fieldsman, being unable to hold a low catch. Hammond when 96 offered India another opportunity of closing his innings, and although Wazir Ali, who fumbled the ball at deep square leg, might have been hampered by strong sunshine in his eyes, the chance could hardly be described as difficult.
This incident occurred during a fourth-wicket partnership between Hammond and Worthington which, beginning shortly after lunch-time, lasted until twenty minutes to six and produced 266 runs. The batting during this stand stood out as the one big feature of Saturday's cricket. Worthington played thoroughly well; the majority of his nineteen 4's were made in front of the wicket and during some periods he was the faster scorer. Like Hammond, he made the square cut perfectly and his drives and pulls were no less sound. The one fault that could be urged against him was an occasional uncontrolled stroke to the ball pitching outside the off stump. Hammond, who registered his second successive century in the Test matches by scoring 217 out of 403 in ten minutes short of five hours, hit thirty 4's. He struck his best form after the uneasy start, brought into play every orthodox stroke and batted with ease and grace. His wonderful reception from the 17,000 people present told eloquently of the worth and character of his innings.
Nissar, using the third new ball of the innings at 409, bowled in grand style. Very fast off the pitch and steadier in length, he proceeded to take four consecutive wickets in nine overs for 46 runs. Both Hammond and Worthington played on and Allen and Verity in turn were caught behind the wicket England's total changing in the last fifty minutes of the day from 422 before the fourth wicket fell to 471 for eight. Fishlock played a calm, restrained game during this deadly bowling by Nissar.
On the second day, only four members of India's team revealed batting ability. Mushtaq Ali and Merchant began with a stand of 81 and those two batsmen with Dilawar Hussain and Ramaswami were responsible for all but 54 of India's total. The best innings was undoubtedly that of Mushtaq Ali, who relished the well-pitched up ball and hit five fours in scoring his first 26 runs. Duckworth stumped him brilliantly. Merchant paid closer attention to defence and hooked and cut well when such strokes could be made safely, but three of his five fours were hit off rank bad balls. He was at the wicket over two and a half hours. Merchant's classic batting formed a remarkable contrast with the methods of Hussain, who, crouching with both knees bent and his body half doubled up, missed many deliveries but yet managed to keep up his wicket for two and a quarter hours. Striving to remedy a poor position by some effort with a dead bat, he made 35 runs.
When after lunch - taken with the score 119 for one - Allen restored Verity and Sims, those slow bowlers swiftly caused collapse and by half past four India were following on. Even Hussain could not resist the lure of a well-pitched-up ball and, making his first reckless stroke, was stumped. Sims, the principal agent in India's downfall, took half the wickets for 73; reliable in length, he mixed his spin and bowled the leg break cleverly. The day's play ended with India needing 93 runs to save an innings defeat, Merchant, Mushtaq Ali and Amar Singh being already out and the total standing at 156.
Good catches accounted for the opening pair and Amar Singh afterwards played a fine forcing innings, hitting 44 out of 51 in half an hour with seven 4's among his figures. His driving was tremendously hard. More than once, he hit against the break but escaped penalty until mis-hitting to extra cover. Hussain and Jilani stayed further England success until next morning, and then C. K. Nayudu, for the first time during this Test series, showed his true form. Hit on the solar plexus when running into a ball from Allen, he refused to leave the field and continued his batting until India had 295 runs up and the innings defeat had been saved. Wristy off-side strokes were the best feature of Nayudu's innings which extended over two hours and a half.
When Allen, in his first five overs after lunch-time, took three consecutive wickets for eleven runs, India's fate was sealed. After a googly closed the essentially defensive effort of Hussain, who stayed two and a half hours, Ramaswami helped Nayudu add 75 and he batted with fine determination for the rest of the innings. Ramaswami made some splendid strokes through the covers and India certainly achieved a creditable performance in making England bat a second time. Barnett and Fagg hit off 48 of the runs required and the task was completed in forty minutes.