Even a magnificent all-round performance by Mankad could not save India. Released by his Lancashire League club, Haslingden, Mankad marked his first appearance for the touring team by scoring 256 runs, including a record 184 for an Indian Test player, and bowling 97 overs for five wickets that cost 231 runs. His powers of endurance seemed inexhaustible. Unfortunately for India only Roy and Hazare gave him any real support with the bat, and consequently England soon gained the initiative, which under the keen captaincy of Hutton they never relinquished.
After Hazare had repeated his Leeds success by winning the toss, India made their best opening stand up to that stage of the tour. While Roy pursued a careful defensive game Mankad rarely missed a chance of scoring. The game was only half an hour old when he hit the fourth ball sent down by Jenkins high over the sight screen for 6. Hutton used five bowlers in the two hours before lunch without success while India made 92; Mankad 63, Roy 26. Within twenty minutes of the resumption a grand catch at short fine leg by Watkins accounted for Mankad, and then India collapsed. In the two hours between lunch and tea they lost seven men while adding 78. The breakdown--due solely to poor and irresolute batting--was almost as sudden and sensational as the four wickets for no runs episode at Leeds.
After Mankad left, Hazare alone offered any resistance until he was joined in turn by the last pair, Shinde and Ghulam Ahmed, who between them defied the bowlers for seventy-five minutes. Evans claimed his 100th Test wicket when he brilliantly stumped Shinde off a ball which had turned sharply towards the slips. Except when he offered a fast, low catch to the slips off Bedser when 27, Hazare never looked in difficulty. The critical position of his team compelled him to concentrate on defence, but he cut and drove cleanly, hitting nine 4's during his stay of two hours fifty minutes.
England owed much to Hutton. Quite early he appreciated that the conditions were unfavourable to slow bowlers and he called for a prolonged effort from his three seamers. The second day was dominated by Hutton, who not only scored 150 but, when he was second out at 264 after batting five and a quarter hours, his side were already 29 runs to the good. It was his first Test century against India and the second hit by an England captain since the war--F. G. Mann scored 136 not out against South Africa at Port Elizabeth in 1949.
At first Hutton was extremely cautious and his mood had a restraining influence on Simpson and May. The two hours before lunch produced only 60 runs, but afterwards Hutton found his most scintillating form. Simpson played a valuable part by staying two and three-quarter hours while the first wicket realised 106--the same as India's--and then came a brilliant partnership between Hutton and May, who put on 158 in two and a half hours.
After the dismissal of Hutton, who hit twenty 4's, England failed to press home their advantage that day, for during the last hour they added only 28 more runs while losing Compton, May and Watkins, the total at the close being 292 for five wickets. May did not reveal his usual freedom, but he left no doubt that he possessed the temperament for the big occasion. He was well caught on the leg-side by the wicket-keeper after batting three and a quarter hours. India deserved credit for fighting back at the end of a tiring day. They looked like losing all grasp of the situation, but when at the last they disposed of Hutton they put a different aspect on the game, thanks to the steady bowling of Mankad and Hazare and the smartness of Mantri, who caught both Hutton and May.
The third day brought more trouble to India. Evans, declining to pay the least respect to any of their bowlers, hit with such abandon that although he did not offer a chance he scored 104 out of 159 put on with Graveney for the sixth wicket in two hours ten minutes. It was a near thing that Evans, who hit sixteen 4's, did not reach his century before lunch. If overshadowed by Evans, Graveney showed his class while making 73 in three and a quarter hours, and then with Jenkins, Laker and Trueman joining the free-hitting England, whose innings occupied nine and three-quarter hours, passed 500 for only the second time in seventeen Tests with India. While India were in the field there was the same casualness by some members of the team as affected the batting, but no one could criticise Hazare, Mankad, Umrigar and Ramchand.
India wanted 302 to avoid the innings defeat when they went in again at 3.45 p.m. Although Mankad had bowled 31 of his 73 overs that day, he not only opened once more but batted even better than on the first day. The loss of Roy and Adhikari for 59 did not deter him. He pulled the first ball from Jenkins for 6 and with Hazare raised the score to 137 for two wickets at the close. This was a great day's cricket, thanks to the brilliance of Evans and Mankad. In five hours forty minutes 382 runs were scored while seven wickets fell. It was refreshing to see batsmen willing to make strokes, an art which many modern players have never learned.
The fourth day, Monday, was memorable for the visit of the Queen and more wonderful batting by Mankad. One or two showers on Sunday had refreshed the pitch, and Mankad and Hazare proceeded to equal India's previous best third-wicket partnership by Hazare and Merchant at New Delhi in 1951. At the same time Mankad surpassed Hazare's record 164 not out in the same match. On this occasion Hazare was content to provide solid support while Mankad attacked the bowling. Mankad was seldom in trouble until exhaustion overtook him and he was yorked. He made his 184 out of 270 in four and a half hours and, besides his 6, he hit nineteen 4's.
When Hazare, having stayed three and three-quarter hours, left immediately afterwards, India's fortunes slumped. Hutton set an attacking field, and only Ramchand and Shinde, who put on 54, showed any resolution against the bowling of Laker and Trueman. England faced a light task, wanting 77. After one over by Ramchand, Mankad removed the shine by rubbing the ball on the ground and, helped by the worn pitch, he and Ghulam Ahmed completely tied down the batsmen. In eighty minutes England scored only 40 for the loss of Simpson. It was a pathetic display, but with the weather stable Hutton was satisfied to let the match drift into the fifth day. The public were admitted free of charge, but not more than 500 saw England occupy another three-quarters of an hour getting the remaining 37 runs.