Fourth Test Match

Australia v India

Australia conceded the initiative early in the match, batting disastrously when dismissed for 131 and then dropping catches during those periods of India's innings when the pitch was encouraging their pace bowlers.

The pitch was damp enough on the first day for Simpson to be tempted to put India in, but he refrained for fear of it being in a crumbled state in the last innings. Torrential rain in Sydney just prior to the match had limited the groundsman's preparation.

Australia did not find the pitch ideal for batting, but it was not so awkward as to cause a Test side to be bundled out in four hours. This was proved by opening batsman Dyson staying in for two and a quarter hours, Simpson for almost as long, and Rixon, taking example from his captain, keeping his head down and batting without much difficulty for seventy-four minutes.

A big blow to Australia was the cheap dismissal of the consistent Toohey who ran himself out immediately on his arrival at the wicket. Nevertheless, Australia's poor batting must not be allowed to detract from fine bowling performances by Chandrasekhar and Bedi, who took four for 30 and three for 49, respectively.

Gavaskar and Chauhan gave India the best start either side had had so far in the series, putting on 97. All but 17 of these runs were scored on the evening of the first day. The pitch sweated under the covers and was lively on the second, which rain cut short by three and a half hours. Gavaskar and Chauhan were removed in rapid succession and Mohinder Amarnath was third out at 116.

India would not have moved far in front has the Australians held their catches, not all of them difficult. Viswanth, who survived the day to make 79, was put down at 10 and 27. His innings was an odd mixture of skilful batting and indiscretions. Vengsarkar, who helped Viswanth put on 125 for the fourth wicket, was also reprieved early in his innings of 48. A stand of 81 for the seventh wicket between Kirmani and Ghavri enabled India to build up a match winning lead, and in this instance, too, the partnership was prolonged by Kirmani being given a life halfway through his ebullient innings of 42.

The ball turned quite consistently, although not viciously, when Australia batted again, and had the weather not cut short the last session, India probably would have won with a full day to spare. Prasanna (four for 51) was the pick of the Indian bowlers as Australia slipped steadily towards defeat. Cosier played a fine, responsible innings of 68, but the strongest resistance came during a partnership of 65 between Simpson and Toohey. Despite torn ligaments in an ankle - an injury sustained in the field - Toohey played a fluent and convincing innings of 85. The only obvious sign of his disability was the presence of a runner. Coming in a t number six, he was ninth out on the last morning, and that to a quite spectacular catch, held after a long sprint to his left, by substitute Madan Lal at long-leg.

© John Wisden & Co