Third Test Match

England v India

Leslie Smith

Toss: India. Test debuts: England - G.Pullar, H.Rhodes; India - A.S.Apte.

For the second successive game England gained victory with more than two days to spare and, as they did the previous year against New Zealand, won the rubber in three straight matches. India, again outplayed, gave a most disappointing display and at no time did they look like making a fight.

As many as eleven changes were made in the sides compared with the Second Test. For England, Parkhouse, Pullar, Close, Mortimore, Swetman and Rhodes replaced Milton, Taylor, Horton, Greenhough, Evans and Statham. Pullar, the Lancashire left-handed batsman, and Rhodes, the Derbyshire fast-medium bowler, gained their first Test honours. Greenhough, out of first-class cricket for a time trying to remedy his run-up, was not considered and Statham damaged a foot. Evans was omitted, as the selectors announced, in the interests of team building. India introduced a newcomer to Test cricket in Apte and he, Gaekwad, the captain, Borde, Nadkarni and Tamhane came in for Contractor, Manjrekar, Kripal Singh, Jaisimha and Joshi.

May, who equalled the world record of F.E. Woolley in playing fifty-two successive Tests, lost the toss and India gained first use of a pitch which should have suited them. It lacked pace and lift and was similar to many of those in their own country. They did not take advantage of the conditions and virtually lost the match on the first day. Trueman could get little life out of the turf and he bowled only five overs in his opening spell.

Rhodes replaced him and made a dramatic entry into Test cricket by taking wickets with his fourth and twelfth balls, Swetman holding catches behind the stumps to dismiss Roy and Borde. Between these successes for Rhodes, Moss bowled Apte so that India were 11 for three in the first fifty minutes. A fourth wicket fell at 23 before any resistance came, Umrigar and Gaekwad putting on 52. Both left at 75, but strong defence by Nadkarni and some brief hitting by Tamhane and Gupte enabled India to make a slight recovery. The last four wickets added 86. Rhodes, tall and slim, with a lively, whippy action, made a highly successful debut with four wickets. Swetman kept wicket neatly and held four catches. He took another in the second innings and, like Evans in the previous Test at Lord's, did not concede a bye in the match.

Pullar, normally a number three batsman for Lancashire, opened the innings with Parkhouse, recalled to Test cricket after almost nine years, and the new partnership proved highly satisfactory, even allowing for the easy pitch and India's lack of a genuinely fast bowler. They scored 61 together by the close of the first day and carried the stand to 146 in three and a half hours before Pullar fell to a fine catch at square leg. This was England's best start for twenty-six Tests and the highest for the first wicket against India, beating the 143 by Hutton and Sheppard at The Oval in 1952.

Cowdrey showed his class from the start, driving and stroking the ball with effortless ease. Parkhouse, after a stay of four hours twenty minutes, left at 180 and India's only bright moment of the match came at this period. Desai, with the new ball, dismissed Parkhouse and six runs later flattened May's off stump.

England regained complete control, Cowdrey and Barrington sharing a stand of 193 in two and three-quarter hours. The scoring rate mounted to such an extent that in an hour and fifty-five minutes after tea 163 runs were added. Barrington's 80 included twelve fours and he exceeded 50 in each of his three Test innings. England were 408 for four by the end of the second day, with Cowdrey 148 not out. May decided to bat on and before a large crowd in extreme heat on Saturday England added another 75 runs in seventy minutes and lost four wickets, all to Gupte. Cowdrey made 160, his highest Test score, and in a stay of four hours forty minutes he drove four powerful sixes and also hit fourteen fours. Apart from two sharp chances to short leg, the first when 33, he was the complete master and all his strokes showed perfect timing.

India faced the task of getting 322 to avoid an innigs defeat and their troubles began almost straight away. After dismissing Apte, Moss retired with a jarred back, but in a splendid spell Trueman sent back Ghorpade and Roy. It became noticeable on the second evening that there were one or two spots on the pitch and the ball was beginning to turn sharply. Close and Mortimore, both with off-breaks, made good use of the conditions and polished off the tail. First they had to break a useful stand between Borde and Umrigar, who put on 69 by bold driving, but that was the only check to England, the last six wickets falling for 42. The innings lasted only three hours and the match was over by five o'clock.

© John Wisden & Co