Third Test Match

India v West Indies

Two lives to Sobers while he made 10 in the second innings ruined India's hopes of victory.

Till then, things had all gone their way. They had first use of a pitch which aided bowlers increasingly as the match progressed, Hall and Griffith bowled poorly and the Indian batting flourished as it had never done before in the series.

A brilliant display of controlled hitting by Engineer brought him within six runs of the honour of becoming the first Indian to score a Test century before lunch, and gave India a start of 129, their best of the series.

Both he and Sardesai went soon after lunch, and it seemed as if India were falling back in their old ways when Wadekar was out immediately afterwards. A partnership of 94 between Borde and Pataudi ensured that the good start was not frittered away and India made 278 for five on the first day.

Borde went to his century on the second day and Surti scored a patient 50 to take India past 400. West Indies had two hours' batting in the afternoon, and though Bynoe was again greatly tormented by Chandrasekhar, Hunte and he batted through to the close to put on 95.

Despite this encouraging start, West Indies had to fight for runs on the next day and the struggle would have been less fruitful if Sardesai had held a simple catch that Kanhai spooned up to mid-off at 13. It was an inexcusable error and thereafter Kanhai batted with complete certainly of timing to score 77.

His innings notwithstanding, West Indies sunk to 251 for seven, but as has happened to the Indian attack many times in recent years, they were frustrated by the tail after having contained the top order batsmen.

They could not dislodge Hall and Griffith who, between them, stayed with Sobers for two hours while he scored 95 with absolute authority. Thus West Indies took the lead, with one wicket in hand, just before stumps were drawn on the third day.

They did not go far ahead though, and then India, once more batting with enterprise and purpose, scored 323. All the recognised batsmen except Sardesai and Pataudi made useful contributions. Wadekar played with conviction and poise. Subramanya batted courageously, but without inspiring confidence.

Griffith and Gibbs each took four wickets and in the light of the help Gibbs received from the pitch, it appeared that West Indies would be hard put to make 322 for victory in four and a half hours.

The superb bowling of Prasanna and Bedi brought the Test match to an absorbing climax and if India did not win, it was because they allowed Sobers two early escapes. Admittedly they were difficult chances, but such as should be taken in a Test Match. They had themselves to blame for their failure to win, but one felt sorry that performances of such high class by Prasanna and Bedi went without the reward of victory.

The tactics West Indies adopted to save the game were unfortunate. Griffith, who stayed with Sobers for the last ninety minutes used his pads more often than his bat and many times even obstructed the ball with his body by going down on his knees.

© John Wisden & Co