Second Test Match

AUSTRALIA v INDIA 1991-92

At Melbourne, December 26, 27, 28, 29. Australia won by eight wickets. Toss: India. Australia brought in Reid for Whitney, and the tall left-arm pace bowler proved their trump card, much as he was a year earlier against England. With six wickets in each innings he propelled India to a second four-day defeat.

Azharuddin might have put Australia in. Almost halfway through the tour, his bowlers seemed to have found their land legs better than the batsmen, while there was damp under the pitch's surface and the sky was overcast. It was inept batting as much as the conditions that reduced India to 64 for four, however. They were still floundering at 151 for eight before a reviving ninth-wicket stand of 77. More batted over three hours for his unbeaten 67, with almost two hours of support from Raju. The Indian wicket-keeper was put down by Mark Taylor, clipping off his legs, and the same fielder had earlier missed an easy chance at slip off Hughes, when Manjrekar was two.

Australia's start was also unsound. Boon and Border went in one over from Kapil Dev after lunch. But Marsh and Jones initiated a revival with 180 for the fourth wicket, perhaps assisted by Azharuddin's reluctance to use his spinners. During this partnership the umpiring controversy reached its height when Jones trapped a ball from Raju between glove and thigh. As More swooped, hoping for a catch, the batsman swept the ball away with his palm. The Indians appealed, for either handling the ball or obstructing the field. But umpire King ruled against them on both counts, adding to their earlier disgruntlement, caused when he had declined an lbw appeal against Marsh. Jones did not add to his score , and on his dismissal Waugh sparkled for 55 minutes. Kapil Dev removed Marsh with the second new ball on the third morning, but the tail, led by Healy, wagged vigorously.

India lost half their wickets in wiping off the arrears of 86, with Reid and McDermott claiming three in ten balls. This time it was incisive bowling which caused the collapse; only Azharuddin played a bad shot. On the fourth day Vengsarkar and Tendulkar, showing courage and skill, held the Australians at bay until 20 minutes before lunch. Border, when running back from mid-on, took an astonishing catch from Tendulkar. Reid then mopped up three wickets in ten overs before Vengsarkar was last out, after a stoical 286 minuts. Australia were left to get 128. As they hurried to complete their win on the fourth evening, the competence of the umpiring was again questioned; a run-out appeal against Border was rejected, although television suggested he was short of the line.

© John Wisden & Co