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Toss: England. Test debuts: India - A.Kumble.
Of the six individual centuries scored in this fascinating contest, none was more outstanding than Tendulkar's, which rescued India on the final afternoon. At 17 years and 112 days, he was only 30 days older than Mushtaq Mohammad was when, against India at Delhi in 1960-61, he became the youngest player to score a Test hundred, More significantly, after several of his colleagues had fallen to reckless strokes, Tendulkar held the England attack at bay with a disciplined display of immense maturity.
India were placed on the defensive once Gooch chose to bat first. The Old Trafford groundsman, Peter Marron, wrong-footed by a cold change in the weather after watering, had predicted even bounce but little pace, and England quickly grasped the opportunity. Leading an unchanged side, Gooch put on 73 untroubled runs with Atherton in the first hour, and India soon resorted to their leg-spinners, Hirwani and Kumble, the latter replacing seamer Sharma from the team at Lord's. They slowed down England's progress, but could do little to prevent a 225-run opening partnership, which overtook by 21 runs the record Gooch and Atherton had set at Lord's a fortnight earlier. In scoring 116, Gooch became the first English batsman for nineteen years to record centuries in three successive Test innings, but on the day he was eclipsed by his junior partner. In five and a half hours, Atherton carefully constructed 131, exactly matching the feat of G. Pullar, the only other Lancastrian to score a Test century for England at Old Trafford, against India 31 years earlier. Smith batted for just over four hours, passing his century during a last-wicket partnership of 60 with Malcolm, an unexpectedly supportive ally, as England reached 519.
The loss of three quick wickets for 57 to the seam movement of Fraser, in the final hour of the second day, placed India in immediate peril. On Saturday, however, they were rescued in style by their captain, Azharuddin, and Manjrekar, whose fourth-wicket stand of 189 set the pace for an entertaining day's play in which 355 runs were scored. Manjrekar made 93 in three and three-quarter hours before falling to a bat-pad catch at silly point off the tireless Hemmings, but Azharuddin could not be stopped so easily. In a breathtaking 281-minute stay for 179, he hit 21 fours and a six, and between lunch and tea he became the first player to score 100 runs for India in a Test session. After he had miscued a drive off Fraser to Atherton, the second new ball accounted for most of the remaining Indian batting, although Tendulkar, after taking 54 minutes to get off the mark, gave warning of his talents in scoring 68 from 136 balls to reduce the England lead to just 87.
As England's second innings began on the fourth morning, Gooch suffered a rare failure in a rich summer, departing for 7. But Atherton added a further 74 to his first-innings hundred, and a winning position was achieved through the efforts of Lamb. Earlier in the game he had looked out of his depth against the Indian spinners, but, relishing the challenge, he hit Hirwani for two successive sixes early on, and his 109 from 141 balls, followed by Smith's unbeaten 61, allowed Gooch to declare 25 minutes into the final day.
To win and square the series, India were offered a minimum of 88 overs in which to score 408, 2 runs more than their own record for the highest winning total by a side batting second in a Test. From the seventh ball of their innings, when Sidhu was brilliantly caught off Fraser by the substitute, Adams, at short leg, it looked a tall order. On a slowly wearing pitch Hemmings produced just enough deviation to have both Manjrekar and Azharuddin caught in the leg trap - but it was the gay abandon of three senior Indian batsmen which might have set Tendulkar a bad example. Shastri dragged a wide ball on to his stumps, Vengsarkar offered no stroke to Lewis, and Kapil Dev sallied down the pitch to Hemmings.
When the all-rounder, Prabhakar, joined Tendulkar, India were 183 for six and there were two and half hours of the match remaining. Gooch crowded the bat and shuffled his bowlers like a croupier, but England were to be denied by their own mistakes. Hemmings put down a simple return catch when Tendulkar was 10, and Gooch failed to get a hand at second slip to a chance offered by Prabhakar. England could ill afford such lapses, and the pair had seen India to safety when the game was halted with two of the final twenty overs still to be bowled.
Tendulkar remained undefeated on 119, having batted for 224 minutes and hit seventeen fours. He looked the embodiment of India's famous opener, Gavaskar, and indeed was wearing a pair of his pads. While he displayed a full repertoire of strokes in compiling his maiden Test hundred, most remarkable were his off-side shots from the back foot. Though only 5ft 5in tall, he was still able to control without difficulty short deliveries from the English paceman.
Man of the Match: S. R. Tendulkar. Attendance: 42,424; receipts £521,100.
Close of play: First day, England 322-3 (A. J. Lamb 20*, R. C. Russell 7*); Second day, India 77-3 (S. V. Manjrekar 21*, M. Azharuddin 4*); Third day, India 432; Fourth day, England 290-4 (R. A. Smith 49*, J. E. Morris 15*).