4th Test

India v England 1984-85

Well-sustained swing bowling by Foster, playing his first match of the series, gave England a grip they were never to lose when India, winning the toss, were dismissed in five hours and twelve minutes. After bowling Gavaskar as he made to drive and having Vengsarkar caught at second slip, forcing off the back foot, in his opening spell, Foster returned after lunch to break the one stand of substance, 110 for the fourth wicket between Amarnath and Azharuddin, before adding two tailenders to his bag to finish with 6 for 104, his best in Test cricket.

Helped by faulty Indian catching, England took full advantage of conditions which by the second day had become ideal for batting. The outfield guaranteed full value for every well-placed stroke. India's attack was strengthened by the return of Kapil Dev: but he could make no impact as Fowler, partnered by Robinson and Gatting, shared two successive wicket records for England against India and joined Hutton (The Oval, 1938) as the only English batsman to establish in one innings such records that still stand.

Fowler, at 36 and 75, and Robinson, at 44, survived chances close to the bat in their stand of 178. India paid dearly for the lapses. Gatting, given the freedom to play his natural forcing game, helped Fowler take the score to 293 by close of play, and on the third day to complete a second-wicket stand of 241. Fowler, missed again at 160, had batted 565 minutes (three 6s, one 5, 21 4s and 409 balls) when Kapil had him caught behind. Two and a half hours later, when Gatting was caught at long-on after batting 506 minutes (three 6s, twenty 4s and 308 balls) they had the distinction of becoming the first Englishmen ever to have scored double-hundreds in the same Test innings.

Despite defensive field-placing, the second-wicket stand was made at more than 3 runs an over, a rate which increased to nearly 5 while Gatting and Lamb were adding 144 for the third wicket. Another 41 were scored off eight overs on the fourth morning before, after thirteen hours in the field, India were spared further punishment by Gower's declaration at 652 for 7 - England's highest total against India. Facing a deficit of 380 with ten and a half hours left for play, India briefly seemed in danger of annihilation when Foster shot out Gavaskar, Vengsarkar and Srikkanth in his first four overs - Gavaskar for the second time in the match in seventeen deliveries. But with the pitch still doing little for the spinners, Amarnath and Azharuddin counter-attacked superbly, adding 190 in three and a half hours, with Pocock the main sufferer, before Foster returned to have Amarnath well caught at long-leg off a hook.

Azharuddin revealed a brilliant range of off-side strokes square with the wicket in becoming only the fourth player to score a hundred in his first two Tests before falling to Pocock, caught at silly point, early on the final day. Kapil Dev and Kirmani went on to score 82 off 19 overs for the seventh wicket, but when Kapil Dev fell to the new ball there could be only one result. Had Fowler, at deep backward point, caught Kirmani with India 362 for 9 England would have been celebrating their first innings victory since 1979, when India themselves lost at Edgbaston 61 Tests earlier. The match was well umpired by two officials standing for the first time in a Test.

© John Wisden & Co