Third Test Match


India won by four wickets to take a 2--1 lead, which ultimately decided the series in their favour. India strengthened their batting, bringing in Pataudi, following a brilliant century for South Zone against the M.C.C. the previous week. Abid Ali made way for Pataudi while Chauhan replaced Parker, a surprise move by the selectors. Arnold returned to the England team for Cottam while Gifford replaced Underwood, forced to stand down due to illness.

Lewis won the toss for the first time in the series but with England losing seven wickets for 110 all the advantage was gone. Again Chandrasekhar and Bedi harassed the batsmen, but Fletcher, confident with his hundred against South Zone, attacked the bowling with brilliant strokes and put his side back in the game as with Arnold and Gifford he added 124 runs. Not the least sparkling of Fletcher's strokes were four 6's he hit off the spinners. He was in sight of his hundred but Chandrasekhar denied him the privilege by dismissing Pocock, the last wicket. Along with Fletcher, Chandrasekhar shared the honours of the day. He claimed the wicket of Amiss before lunch; in 26 balls after the break he dismissed Greig, Lewis, and Old for eight runs and coming back after tea he removed Gifford and Pocock in successive overs.

Pataudi built up the Indian innings after three wickets had gone for 89. Coming to a royal and tumultuous welcome from a fine crowd he straightaway attacked the bowling with an array of glittering strokes. He reached his 50 with a superb 6 over mid-off off Pocock and then quietened down. Wadekar made a patchy 44. Durani, who was associated in two good stands, batted under pain from his thigh injury, with plenty of luck. He was missed thrice off Pocock. India, thanks to these three, ended the second day at 175 for four wickets.

Pataudi set the tone of the innings next morning so that for the first time in the series India passed the 300 mark. There was high drama in the pre-lunch session. Pataudi and Viswanath, after seeing through the second new ball firmly, attacked the bowling so well that the fieldsmen were pushed back to defensive positions. Pocock, the off-spinner, disposed of both in six balls to give his side a vital breakthrough. Pataudi was caught on the long-on boundary by Tolchard, substitute for Lewis, while Viswanath fell to a catch in the leg-trap. Engineer, Solkar and Prasanna, who played strokes worthy of a front rank batsman, added valuable runs. Pocock, who had bowled manfully, was rewarded with four wickets while Gifford got three.

Chandrasekhar completed his 100 wickets in Tests at the start of the England second innings when Amiss snicked a catch to Engineer. Earlier, Bedi had disposed of Wood, Knott fell to his pull stroke again when he edged Bedi high to square leg where Chandrasekhar took a good catch. With Denness batting firmly and making attractive drives at every opportunity, England fought back determinedly on the fourth day. When Old and Gifford were affording him strong support it seemed the innings would be prolonged to the next day but in a fine spell the off-spinner Prasanna swept through the bottom order and brought the innings to a swift close. Prasanna could have come on earlier but was held back by an objection rightfully made by the batsmen that he had had half an hour's rest in the pavilion following a hand injury. Given the ball fifteen minutes later he took four wickets, that of Denness included, in 41 balls, for six runs.

India had to struggle to get the 86 runs to win. Both Engineer and Chauhan, who opened, as Gavaskar was nursing a finger injury, were back for 11 runs. Wadekar edged Old for a knee high catch to Greig in the slips but as umpire Mamsa did not at once uphold the appeal, there was some unseemly demonstration by some of the fieldsmen when Lewis showed a firm hand. The umpire, apparently unsighted by Old cutting across in his follow-through, upheld the appeal after consulting his colleague. Thirty-two for two at stumps, India hit off the runs about half-an-hour before lunch on the next day through a no-ball delivered by Gifford. Pocock, bowling into the same end as Prasanna on the previous evening, caused a fright but hard-hitting by Durani, who slammed two timely 6's, and firm batting by Pataudi saw India home.

© John Wisden & Co