Third Test Match

INDIA v. AUSTRALIA

At New Delhi, November 28, 29, 30, December 2. India won by seven wickets. Coming after the improved performance in the second Test at Kanpur, this victory brightened the image of Indian cricket, which was at a very low ebb at the end of the New Zealand tour. While Mankad, Wadekar and Viswanath batted very well, the match was a triumph for the spinners, Prasanna and Bedi. Their effort in dismissing Australia for 107 in the second innings offset the visitors' first-innings lead of 73 runs. They fully exploited an absolutely grassless pitch. Australia's most successful bowler was the off-spinner Mallett.

After Lawry had won the toss and decided to bat, Chappell held together a crumbling innings with a sterling chanceless 138, so that Australia finished the first day at 261 for seven. This was Chappell's second century against India, the first being at Melbourne in 1967-68. Altogether, he batted four and a half hours and hit twenty-one 4's.

On the second day, after disposing of the remaining four batsmen for the addition of 35 runs, India made a good start with 176 for two, and then lost two wickets to end the day at 183 for four. Mankad played another solid knock of 89 not out overnight. The young batsman, however, failed to get his hundred the next morning, being caught at short leg for 97. He had batted for just under five hours and hit ten 4's. Mankad's exit at 197 started a collapse and the Indian innings ended after eighty minutes' play. Mallett's figures for the morning were 13.3-7-17-5, an admirable performance indeed.

In the twenty-five minutes remaining before lunch, Australia lost Stackpole and Chappell for 16 runs. Pataudi brought on Prasanna and Bedi after only three overs of medium pace had been bowled by Guha and Solkar. Dismissing Stackpole with a splendid off-break, Prasanna started the rout. Bedi claimed Walters and Redpath at 16 and 24. There was a stubborn stand between Lawry and Sheahan, which took the score to 61, but as soon as Sheahan was dismissed the end came quickly. Lawry alone defied the two spinners and carried his bat for 49. His innings was a study in concentration and defence. He hit six 4's in a stay of three and a quarter hours. Prasanna and Bedi each took nine wickets. When he had Sheahan caught, Prasanna took his 100th Test wicket. The bowlers were backed up by splendid close-in fielding by Wadekar, Solkar and Venkataraghavan.

India wanted 181 runs to win with more than two days available. They lost Engineer in forty minutes' play and finished at 13 for one wicket. The next day was rest day and on the following day, the fourth, India won the Test for the loss of Mankad and Bedi. Mankad fell at 18, but Bedi, who had come in as night-watchman, remained with Wadekar till 61 runs were on the board. Wadekar and Viswanath, at first quietly and then with confident strokeplay, hit off the runs. Viswanath attacked Mallett beautifully and once the latter's hold was broken the runs flowed smoothly. Wadekar scored 91 not out, his most fluent innings in the series, with fifteen 4's in three and three-quarter hours. Viswanath made the winning stroke off McKenzie. The pair added 120 runs.

© John Wisden & Co