After regaining the Ashes from England the previous winter, the Australians completed a short but highly successful tour of the subcontinent of Pakistan and India in 1959-60. In three crowded months they played eight Tests and three other first-class games, losing only one, the second Test against India at Kanpur where they went down by 119 runs against the off-spin of Patel.
There was no question of this being an A tour. The Board of Control picked their 15 best players, seven of them with previous Test experience in India -- R. Benaud, the captain, A. Davidson, R.N. Harvey, P. Burge, R.R. Lindwall, K. Mackay and C.C. McDonald.
The tour was dominated by the batting of N. O'Neill, the aggressive New South Wales batsman for whom a future in the Sir Donald Bradman mould has been glowingly painted. O'Neill justified all that had been written of him by topping the Test averages with 66 runs an innings and this rose to 85.54 in the first-class averages. O'Neill hit his first century in Test cricket against Pakistan, 134 in the second game at Lahore, and altogether made four three-figure innings on the tour, three of them in matches between the countries. His highest was 284 against the Indian President's XI just after Christmas.
Centuries were also made by Harvey, L. Favell, Burge and W. Grout, the first choice wicket-keeper, who kept in seven of the Tests. G. Stevens, the South Australian batsman who was the only newcomer to international cricket, had his chance in four Tests, two each against Pakistan and India, but never really succeeded.
Of the bowlers, Benaud was the most successful with his leg-spin, accounting altogether for 49 victims, 47 of them in the Tests. He outshone the battery of fast bowlers who had been expected to do so much, and of these only Davidson really achieved anything of note when he took twelve for 124 in the second Test against India at Kanpur. G. Rorke, the other New South Wales seam bowler, missed the fourth and fifth Tests against India because of food poisoning and had to return home.
Lindwall, who captured nine wickets in the Test series, retired on his return to Australia after taking 228 wickets in 61 Tests, the best by any Australian but eight short of the record of A.V. Bedser. The tour emphasised Australia's pressing need to develop an off-spinner, and Benaud felt the absence of another leg-spinner in support.
What of Pakistan and India? Pakistan lost a series at home for the first time, Australia winning the first two Tests and drawing the third. At Dacca Australia took the upper hand from the start when they sent in their opponents on an unpredictable coir matting pitch and a century by O'Neill in the second meeting put them in command again.
Hanif Mohammad, 101 not out, enabled Pakistan to draw the final game, which was wanted by Mr. Eisenhower attired in Pakistan cricket blazer and tie -- the first President of the United States of America to watch Test cricket.
A century by Harvey put Australia on top in the first Test with India, and Benaud and Kline completed their discomfiture with splendid spin bowling. The next match turned out very differently for India gained their first Test victory over Australia. They were indebted to a brilliant performance by Patel, who captured fourteen wickets for 142 runs in the match, including nine for 69 in the first innings -- India's finest Test bowling. A drawn game at Bombay kept India's hopes alive but Australia won decisively at Madras in the fourth game and the fifth encounter at Calcutta was drawn.
Contractor, the left-hand opening batsman, was outstanding for India. Baig, who returned home from his studies at Oxford to play in the first three Tests was at his best in his final match for his country, scoring 50 and 58.
The Australian party comprised: R. Benaud (New South Wales), captain, R.N. Harvey (New South Wales), vice-captain, P. Burge (Queensland), A. Davidson (New South Wales), K. Mackay (Queensland), B. Jarman (South Australia), C.C. McDonald (Victoria), I. Meckiff (Victoria), L. Favell (South Australia), W. Grout (Queensland), L. Kline (Victoria), R.R. Lindwall (Queensland), N. O'Neill (New South Wales), G. Rorke ( New South Wales), G. Stevens (South Australia). Manager, S. J. Loxton ( Victoria).
SUMMARY OF TOUR -- FIRST-CLASS MATCHES
Played 11, Won 5, Lost 1, Drawn 5
TEST MATCHES AGAINST PAKISTAN
Played 3, Won 2, Drawn 1
TEST MATCHES AGAINST INDIA
Played 5, Won 2, Lost 1, Drawn 2
Match reports for
Match reports for
Pakistan President's XI v Australians at Rawalpindi, Nov 28-30, 1959