Fourth Test Match

ENGLAND v INDIA 1951-52

At Kanpur, January 12, 13, 14. England won by eight wickets. For the first time in the Test series spin bowlers found a pitch to suit them. England showed themselves much more experienced both in bowling and batting on it, and their comfortable victory ensured that they could not lose the rubber. India's selectors possibly knew what the pitch would be like, for they packed their side with spin. Unwisely they went about things the wrong way, for they chose two leg-spinners who normally prefer fast pitches to those that bite as this one did. Shinde and Nayudu, the leg-break bowlers, took one wicket between them in the match, and Nayudu bowled no more than two overs throughout.

India again switched their side a good deal, Adhikari, C. S. Nayudu, Joshi, Shinde and Ghulam Ahmed replacing Amarnath, Gopinath, Sen, Divecha and Gupte. England's selectors fortunately recognised the state of the pitch and brought in Hilton for the first time. Lowson returned, Leadbeater and Kenyon standing down. Hilton seized his chance magnificently and was one of the leading figures in the success.

So lifeless was the turf during the early overs that another colourless game like Calcutta appeared in store. For about forty minutes Howard tried his pace bowlers, Statham, Ridgway and Watkins, but it was useless. Then, with the total 34, he turned to Hilton. His first over produced nothing extraordinary, but the second ball of his next over popped and turned sharply. That was the signal for a remarkable change in the game. The Englishmen rubbed their hands in anticipation. Immediately Howard brought up an extra slip and moved his entire field in close. Then he put Tattersall on at the other end. The total was 39 for no wicket when the off-spinner took over. In less than ten minutes the board read 39 for three, Tattersall taking wickets with his second, sixth and eighth balls, the victims being Mankad, Umrigar and Hazare. A fourth wicket fell to Tattersall ten runs later. Hilton gained reward for splendid work at his end by taking the fifth wicket before Tattersall disposed of Roy, the one batsman who did not look completely at sea under the conditions.

Roy, although unused to the ball which turned to such an extent, held out gallantly for two hours forty minutes. Nayudu made a few big hits, but that was the only resistance after the first pair, the last nine wickets falling for 82. Tattersall and Hilton, bowling unchanged from the time they were first tried, shared the wickets.

Then it became England's turn to see what they could do on the difficult pitch. Hazare had the advantage of knowing what conditions were like, and with only seven scored he brought on the spinners, Mankad and Ghulam Ahmed. Batting superbly, Lowson looked like mastering the attack and, with Spooner helping in an opening stand of 46, England appeared to be getting well on top. By close of play, however, three men were out for 63. Next day Watkins played another great-hearted innings and, although the bowling always looked dangerous, England gained an extremely valuable lead of 82.

India lost half their wickets before clearing the arrears and England were in sight of victory. Howard opened his attack with Hilton and Tattersall, who rubbed the new ball on the ground to remove the shine. Tattersall failed to repeat his success, but Hilton was again in fine form and took the first five wickets which fell for 44, his figures being five for 20. Hazare, for the only time in his career, failed to score in either innings. A check came when Adhikari and Umrigar added 58 for the sixth wicket, but Robertson put England well on top once more by dismissing Umrigar and Nayudu in the same over.

Despite an heroic attempt by Adhikari, England needed only 76 to win. Hazare also opened with spin and Spooner left with only one scored, but Lowson and Graveney added 56 and victory was assured. Graveney, in attacking mood, made 48 not out at a run a minute. The match, scheduled to last five days, ended in three, the first time on the tour that a match had finished before the final day.

© John Wisden & Co