Second Test Match

India v England

At Calcutta, January 1, 2, 4, 5, 6. England won by ten wickets. It was their first win in six Test matches on this ground.

With the pitch under-prepared and completely shorn of grass to hasten its disintegration, England did extremely well to overcome the disadvantage of losing the toss.

Both sides made changes from the first Test. England capped two new players in Randall and Tolchard. They replaced Woolmer, who was out of form, and Fletcher, who was injured. Underwood was quite ill on the eve of the match and was a doubtful starter till just before the team left their hotel.

India omitted Ghavri, Venkataraghavan and M. Amarnath from the side that played at Delhi and included Solkar, Prasanna and Madan Lal.

Their batting was hardly strengthened because of the changes and England dismissed them for 155, Willis taking five for 27 in twenty overs. He fulfilled the promise raised by his performance in the previous match and again exposed India's limitations against pace bowling.

England, too, began disastrously. Barlow, experimented with as an opener, and Brearley were both out for 14. Randall, after playing with more authority than anyone in the innings, left at 81, having made 37, and Amiss was fourth out at 90. He batted for three hours, twenty minutes for an unimpressive 35 and, in fact, received two lives -- at nought and 17.

Tolchard and Greig were equally unenterprising as they put on 142 for the fifth wicket. England were 79 ahead when the partnership was broken. It was formed eight minutes after tea on the second day and lasted until forty-five minutes before the same interval on the third -- just over four and a half hours. After Greig had mistimed a drive off Chandrasekhar, early in his innings, he was convinced that the slow pitch was not conducive to stroke play.

Starting the second day at 31, Tolchard made 67. He had a torrid time against Chandrasekhar before lunch, but came through the difficult period with resilience. Greig batted right through the day and remained unbeaten with 94. It was a laborious innings, quite out of character, but one had to take account of the fact that he was running a high temperature.

Tactically, also, there was justification for Greig and Tolchard batting as they did. The swiftness with which the bowlers had demolished India's first innings had put time on England's side. Moreover, with the pitch unreliable, they had to leave as little to do as possible in the second innings.

On the fourth morning, Greig needed only three balls to get the six runs he needed for his century. He was out shortly afterwards. Then Old threw his bat about and scored 52 and England finished 166 ahead.

India, who began their second innings forty minutes after lunch, collapsed again. They were reduced to 97 for seven and it looked more than likely that all would be over on the fourth day.

The struggle was carried into the last day thanks to a brilliant innings by Patel, and to Prasanna, who supported him nobly for the last hour. The freedom with which Patel cut, drove and pulled made nonsense of the theory that the pitch discouraged stroke play.

Although the end was not distant, a near-capacity crowd turned up for the last day's play. They were clearly enthused by Patel's performance on the previous night. Ecstatic scenes were witnessed when India avoided an innings defeat, but India could leave England no more than 16 runs to make at the end.

His figures may not bear sufficient evidence, but Underwood had made the ball turn and bounce quite violently on the fourth day and one would have thought that a target of even 175 in the last innings might have proved beyond England's scope.

© John Wisden & Co