Fourth Test Match

INDIA v. ENGLAND

At Kanpur ( Green Park), January 25, 27, 28, 29, 30. Drawn. With a 2--1 lead India were expected to take the initiative. Instead, Lewis and England called the tune, finishing the match with a flourish forcing thoughts of defeat on India on the final afternoon. Lewis should have happy memories of the match. Apart from the manner in which his team performed, the captain himself scored a decorous century, his first in Test cricket and the first for the series.

A slow paced pitch afforded neither help to the bowlers nor comfort to batsmen in playing strokes. The fact that England's first innings, in reply to India's, ended on the morning of the final day, after half an hour, gives an idea of the nature of the wicket.

England brought Roope and Birkenshaw into the team, dropping Wood and Amiss. With Gifford and Underwood this meant a three-pronged spin attack with Arnold and Old being the medium-fast bowlers. Roope and Birkenshaw made their Test debut. For India, Abid Ali replaced Durani, dropped on account of his lack of physical fitness.

After Wadekar had won the toss for the third time in the series, India scored 168 for two wickets by stumps. A crowd of 30,000 could count their blessings on a dull day's play in the batting of Gavaskar before lunch and the strokes of Wadekar and Viswanath after tea. Chauhan, though strokeless, helped Gavaskar to provide the best start for India in three Tests of 82 runs. Gavaskar, who hit his first fifty in the series, batted brightly till lunch and then plodded on. He was missed at 65 by Greig in the slips off Old and was ultimately out to a poor stroke of a short ball form Birkenshaw. Wadekar, who hit a lovely six off Underwood over mid wicket, and Viswanath enlivened the game a little by their forceful methods. England were without Gifford after lunch, and for the rest of the Test; he injured the little finger of his bowling hand while fielding.

The second day's play, with India adding 164 runs for the loss of five more wickets, was a tactical victory for Lewis. Realising that the pitch was unresponsive to his bowlers, speed or spin, he kept them working on a strict length and attacking the stumps and left it to the batsmen, handicapped in making strokes because of the sluggish bounce of the ball, to take risks to play their shots. No Indian batsman was prepared to do this. In working out his plan Lewis leaned heavily on Underwood, who responded with unflagging zeal and bowled so accurately that his figures for the day were 29--15--35--2. Greig, who supported him in one long spell of 12 overs, gave away only 14 runs and claimed Wadekar's wicket, when the Indian captain was 90. Wadekar stroked firmly, choosing the ball to be hit with discretion, but Pataudi, except for a swift onslaught on Birkenshaw, who was at once taken off, could not adapt himself to the pace of the pitch. Solkar and Engineer were similarly tied down. England had another casualty when Old, standing on the heels of Solkar, was hit on his nose by a forceful deflection by the batsman. Though he did not take further part in the day's play, he came back the next morning to play his part in ending the Indian innings. It had lasted eleven hours and ten minutes and 167 overs.

Lewis dominated the rest of the day's play. Promoting himself to the number four position, he came to the crease after Chandrasekhar, dismissing Roope and Denness, had threatened his side with another match-winning spell. Lewis took command with positive methods. His classic treatment of Bedi, stepping up the pitch and lifting him over the fieldsmen's heads, set the tone for his innings. He played faultless cricket, unmarred by a single violent movement, and completed his hundred in effortless style on the next morning. After reaching this mark he burst into a flurry of sparkling strokes. Knott, who added with Lewis 70 runs, batted in inelegant style in sharp contrast with his captain's delicate manner, while Fletcher played a subdued role when he and Lewis added 144 runs for the fourth wicket.

After completing his fifty Fletcher fell in attacking the bowling. In figures, Lewis's share of 214 runs added during these two stands was 125 while his share of the stand with Fletcher was 89. After Fletcher's exit the other batsmen tested the crowd's patience and only a brilliant catch by Chauhan, diving from silly-point, to the front of Greig enlivened the proceedings. England's innings had lasted ten hours nineteen minutes and 172.5 overs.

With only 40 runs in the lead, England and the crowd could look forward only to a tame draw. The match suddenly became exciting when, after a swift brilliant onslaught by Gavaskar, India lost him, Chauhan, Wadekar and Engineer with the deficit still to be wiped out. Inspired suddenly by the thought that they could clinch a win, England pressed hard. Then Viswanath took charge and batting in his best style he pushed back England's hopes, first with Solkar and then with Abid Ali.

© John Wisden & Co