India, looking much stronger than in the first Test, were a match for Australia until the last afternoon when, in the second innings, their batting again fell to pieces. Needing to bat for only four and a half hours to force a draw, they survived with only two wickets standing, and that after the undefeated ninth-wicket pair had resisted for nine overs and two balls.
Two memorable innings were played during the match, which for the quality of the cricket was the best of the series. In Australia's first innings, Hughes touched the heights, scoring 213 off 303 balls in 383 minutes and hitting 21 fours. That India did not fall hopelessly behind Australia's first innings 528 was due to an equally aggressive 174 (one six and 22 fours), in five hours and off 240 balls, by Patil.
In the knowledge that Adelaide pitches can be very lively on the first morning, India chose to field first. It was a defensive move principally, but they could have gained from it had Wood not been missed before scoring and if Ghavri had bowled better in support of Kapil Dev. Wood and Dyson staged Australia's best opening partnership in five Tests of the season so far, 84, and by the end of the first day Australia were 319 for three. This included 125 by Wood who, after his early escape, batted extremely well. His innings lasted 286 minutes and 217 balls; he hit one 6 and ten fours.
Chappell's was among the wickets the Indians took on the first day, but Australia's innings continued to blossom in proportion to the increasing domination of Hughes, who started the second day 85 not out. With brilliant footwork, he scored freely off the spinners, Doshi and Yadav, who were by no means wayward. Having come in half an hour before tea on the first day, at 152 for two, Hughes was last out on the second afternoon, slogging Yadav to mid-wicket. His magnificent innings won him the Man of the Match award.
India, starting their reply after tea, also began soundly, Chauhan being the more productive of their opening pair. But with only six minutes left to the close of the second day, Gavaskar, who had batted with great concentration, was bowled off his hip by Pascoe. On the next morning there was a dreadful collapse, with Yadav, the night-watchman, Viswanath and Vengsarkar getting out in just over an hour while the score rose to 130. The turning-point was the escape of Patil, who, when 2, survived a difficult chance to short mid-on off Yardley, and three crisp boundary hits after lunch by Chauhan stirred Patil into cutting loose with an array of dazzling shots.
The second new ball, taken after Chauhan had been out in the nineties, was no threat to the irrepressible Patil, joined now by Yashpal Sharma. At the end of the day, Patil and Yashpal were still together and the follow-on mark of 328 had been left far behind. When Hogg claimed Patil lbw on the following morning, India were 399 for eight.
The fact that Doshi opened the bowling with Kapil Dev in Australia's second innings, which began shortly before lunch on the fourth day, was a commentary, not only on Ghavri's form as a new-ball bowler but also on the state of the pitch. With the ball turning, Doshi bowled with such control that Australia were prevented from adding to their first innings lead of 109 as quickly as they would have liked. After batting for just over four hours, they were 165 for four at the close, Doshi having captured three of these wickets at low cost. Hughes, batting sensibly and yet with flair, remained unbeaten with 53.
In carrying out instructions to force the pace, Hughes was quickly out on the last morning whereupon Australia had to tread carefully before declaring half an hour before lunch. However, by the interval, with Gavaskar and Chauhan both out to Pascoe, India had shut up shop. Half an hour after the break they were 57 for four, Viswanath and Vengsarkar also having gone, and at tea they were 93 for five. When the last hour was called, they had only four wickets left.
Their hopes of survival rested by then on Yashpal, who had been batting for 146 minutes, but he fell victim to a controversial lbw decision in the seventh over of the last hour. Kirmani, also adhesive, succumbed in the tenth of the last twenty, caught behind off Chappell, who was bowling leg-breaks, and it was left to Ghavri and Yadav to see India through to safety. Curiously, all but two overs (the sixteenth and the last, which were delivered by Lillee) in the final hour were bowled by the spinners.