Third Test Match

ENGLAND v INDIA 1946

H.P.

Toss: India. Test debuts: England - T.G.Evans, T.P.B.Smith.

Utterly ruined by the weather, the match was abandoned at lunch time on Tuesday, the result leaving England winners of the rubber by virtue of the victory gained at Lord's. Rain that fell until one o'clock so affected the ground that it was doubtful if play would have been attempted even at five o'clock on Saturday but for the crowds of people who waited around the walls from early in the morning. As it was about ten thousand people saw Merchant and Mushtaq Ali score 79, a stand which lasted twenty minutes longer on Monday morning before Fishlock, with a lightning throw from mid-on, hit the stumps; the partnership realized 94 in 110 minutes. In two and a half hours before lunch India lost four wickets altogether and scored 122 runs, a rate of progress indicating length bowling and smart fielding but, as on Saturday, some false strokes went perilously near outstretched hands.

Merchant maintained his mastery without ever becoming menacing as a hard hitter, and then lost his wicket unluckily. He started for a short run, was sent back by Mankad but moved too slowly and Compton, running behind the bowler from mid-on, kicked the ball on to the stumps--an incident reminiscent of that by Joe Hulme, another Arsenal and England forward, who in the same way dismissed Iddon of Lancashire in 1938 when Middlesex visited Old Trafford. This was a sad finish to a remarkable display of skilled concentration lasting five hours and a quarter. Merchant hit twelve 4's, excelling in late cuts and pulls, while placing on record the highest innings for India in a Test match against England. He and Mankad were forcing the pace when the disaster happened--they added 46 in half an hour for the seventh wicket, Merchant leaving at 272. Mankad, bowled playing forward, scored 42 out of 87 in an hour, his pulls and drives coming as a refreshing change after much extreme care on a dead pitch which afforded bowlers only the doubtful help of the occasional rising ball.

Hammond frequently changed his attack, allowing no one a long spell. Edrich, always straight with some off-break, proved most effective, but, after the use of the heaviest roller, Pataudi relied mainly on Amarnath and Mankad. Two splendid catches disposed of Washbrook, taken at short leg, and Fishlock, at deep square leg, while Hutton, second out at 55, fell playing back at a perfect length ball that kept low; Mankad's figures then read: 9 overs, 4 maidens, 9 runs, 2 wickets--reward for clever left-hand slow bowling, with mixed break. Compton, often going in to the ball and making some brilliant strokes, played out time with Hammond, and nothing could be done on the last day.

The official return of attendance on Monday was 26,285, of whom 20,253 paid 3s. 6d. at the turnstiles, and 4,080 were holders of tickets bought before the match.

The Prime Minister and Mrs. Attlee were present on Saturday and Monday.

© John Wisden & Co