Third Test Match

ENGLAND v INDIA 1951-52

At Calcutta, December 30, 31, January 1, 3, 4. Drawn. There was never much chance of a definite result in this match, the cricket being deadly dull with the pitch mainly responsible. It was entirely lifeless and the batsmen were not prepared to take chances. Over the five days the average rate of scoring was less than 40 an hour, and the runs scored in five and a half hours on the second, third and fourth days were 190, 192 and 185 respectively. Such cricket was boring to watch and calculated to drive people away from the game.

Lowson hurt a finger in catching practice the day before the match and stood down. Poole replaced him, that being the only change from the Bombay side. India again made five changes, bringing in Phadkar, Manjrekar, Divecha, Gupte and Sen for Sohoni, Adhikari, Sarwate, Shinde and Mantri. Divecha, the Oxford Blue, made a good start to his Test career, taking the valuable wickets of Robertson and Graveney, which fell for 76 before lunch. Graveney was out to the last ball before the interval, caught at second slip off the only ball which lifted from a length throughout the match.

Spooner, on his 32nd birthday, played a careful innings for three and a quarter hours, but Kenyon again disappointed in Test cricket, and with four wickets down for 139 on an easy pitch another England batting disappointment seemed possible. Watkins again rose to the occasion, and another left-hander, Poole, took his Test chance well. They saved the innings with a fifth stand of 107. Watkins once more showed his fighting qualities, defying India for four hours twenty minutes. Poole followed Watkins one run later, and when Statham left seven wickets were down for 259. The tail improved the position, a ninth stand of 42 between Leadbeater and Ridgway being extremely valuable.

Mankad conceded only 89 runs in almost 53 overs, and followed this hard work by opening the innings successfully. He was the third different opening partner for Roy, and in the last ninety-five minutes on the second day they scored 65 without being parted. England did much better next morning, four wickets falling for the addition of 28. Tattersall did splendidly in getting rid of Hazare and Amarnath in the course of three balls, and Ridgway accounted for Roy and Umrigar. Usually a forcing batsman lower in the order, Mankad batted so cautiously that his 59 took four hours five minutes before he was fifth out at 144.

India's middle batsmen rose to the occasion, with Phadkar the leading figure. Manjrekar showed a nice, fluent style in his first official Test and helped to put on 76, and Gopinath stayed while 52 were added. Phadkar, another batsman who likes hitting hard, also kept himself rigidly in check. Eventually last out with India two runs ahead, Phadkar batted almost six and a half hours for his 115.

Spooner played another careful innings for England in their second innings and was unfortunate to chop a ball on to his stumps when needing only eight for his first Test century. He stayed five and a quarter hours and checked a breakdown when Graveney, Watkins and Kenyon left in quick succession. In the match Spooner scored 163. Poole again gave a good display, and England's declaration was only a formality, India being set to get 251 to win in ninety minutes. With the bowling not too serious, Roy and Mankad made the first three-figure opening stand in any match against M.C.C. on the tour, Mankad hitting twelve 4's in a punishing 71 not out. This was the only period in the match when runs came at a reasonable pace.

© John Wisden & Co
 
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