First Test Match

AUSTRALIA v INDIA 1991-92

At Brisbane, November 29, 30, December 1, 2. Australia won by ten wickets. Toss: Australia. Australia's win was fashioned by superb bowling from McDermott, who captured nine wickets in all, and Hughes, whose opening spell on the third day wrecked India's second innings beyond repair. The failure of their batsmen in their only first-class match to date, against New South Wales, had done untold damage to the Indians' morale. Their fear of batting first was increased by an overcast sky on the eve of the match, and was not dispelled by bright sunshine as it began.

The pitch contained some moisture and provided movement. But its bounce, rather than any deviation of the ball, defeated technique moulded by flat Indian pitches. Srikkanth and Shastri soon fell once McDermott had found a good line, and by lunch Hughes had reduced India to 53 for four. Not long after this became 83 for six. Only a breezy 44 in 41 balls from Kapil Dev and a fighting 54 by Prabhakar, unbeaten at No. 8, prolonged the innings towards the end of the day.

At 235 for two by the end of the second day, Australia looked to be playing India out of the match. Marsh and Taylor built the foundations in workmanlike fashion before Marsh became Srinath's first Test victim; Taylor swept once too often and missed his century by six runs. But Boon was solidly established and Border, in his record 126th Test, was already rattling his sword. Next morning, however, the second new ball and a flash of brilliance from Kapil Dev produced a dramatic twist. With only nine runs added, he bowled what Boon, the non-striker, described as the best three consecutive balls he had seen in a Test. The first cut back at Border and bowled him through the gate; the next swung away late to beat Jones who, playing for out-swing at the third, left a fatal gap. Only resolute batting by Peter Taylor kept Australia on course for a lead of 101. India's relief that it was no larger soon turned to despair. Hughes pounded the ball in and obtained disconcerting bounce, to remove four men with 32 on the board; three were held at short leg. Although Shastri batted doggedly for over three hours, India were six down before they wiped out their deficit. Australia needed no more than 56 to complete a four-day victory.

Man of the Match: C. J. McDermott.

Attendance: 22,009.

Close of play: First day, India 239; Second day, Australia 235-2 ( D. C. Boon 59*, A. R. Border 24*); Third day, India 104-6 ( R. J. Shastri 37*, M. Prabhakar 9*).

© John Wisden & Co