Sixth Test Match


At Kanpur, January 30, 31, February 1, 3, 4. Drawn. The loss of 9 hours, 40 minutes did no more than turn probability into certainty that the final Test would be drawn. It was played at a time of year when rain is not uncommon on the Ganges, and apart from the first morning and the last afternoon, when the sun broke through, the weather was miserable. True to Kanpur tradition the pitch, clay-based and nearly grassless, lacked pace and bounce, offering no more to bowlers at the end than it had at the beginning.

England brought back Emburey for the sick Allott and when Fletcher won his fifth toss in a row, Gooch gave them a flying start by reaching 50 off 55 balls in 90 minutes; however, seventeen minutes later he attempted to force Doshi off the back foot and was bowled off an inside edge when the ball kept low. On a cloudy afternoon, an old ball swung and seamed for the first time since Bombay, but Gower played very well, and despite the loss of twenty minutes through bad light England, 213 for three at the close, had compiled the highest first-day total of the series.

Three of the next four sessions were lost to drizzle, which removed virtually any chance of a result, and on the third afternoon Botham completed his ninth Test hundred, playing an exemplary innings in which discipline and opportunism were balanced flawlessly. A late assault on Doshi, whom he on-drove for two gigantic 6s, took him to 142 off 214 balls in just over five and a half hours. He followed up by bowling Roy in the final over of the day with a fine ball that straightened off the pitch.

When India continued their innings after an hour's delay on the fourth morning, the pitch was greener than at any stage before or after. Yet the ball neither swung nor seamed, and Gavaskar, playing second string to Vengsarkar and then Viswanath, made sure India had no trouble saving the follow-on.

After the loss of two hours to pea-soup fog, Willis began the last afternoon by taking three for 7 with the second new ball. But Kapil Dev, struck painfully on the elbow as soon as he came in, responded with a superb piece of controlled hitting (one 6, fourteen 4s), reaching his 100 off 83 balls - by 57 balls the fastest of the series. Batting like a racquets player, he hit wristily through the line off almost any length. His seventh-wicket partnership of 169 with Yashpal was an Indian record against England.

© John Wisden & Co