Third Test Match

INDIA v AUSTRALIA 1979-80

At Kanpur, October 2, 3, 4, 6, 7. India won by 153 runs. The wide margin was surprising after Australia had the better of the first three days' play. Needing 279 in 312 minutes, the touring side were bowled out for 125 on a pitch that had been grassy and fast but which became unpredictable in bounce towards the end. The Australian batsmen could not cope with its whims. However, had they held their catches in India's second innings, the final target would have been less oppressive.

India won the toss for the first time in the series and reached 231 for five at the end of an eventful opening day. First use of the newly laid pitch seemed a mixed blessing, for it had pace and bounce to encourage Hogg, while Dymock found the heavy, humid atmosphere useful to swing. Nevertheless, Gavaskar and Chauhan gave India an encouraging start with a partnership of 114. Gavaskar played and missed often, being beaten four times by Hogg in one over alone before settling down to play a handsome innings. Chauhan survived an easy chance in the slips within twenty minutes of the start and went on to bat five hours for his 58. It was a dour, tedious innings, but it proved vital to his team's success.

Although India passed 200 with only one wicket lost, the initiative at the end of the day lay with Australia, thanks to Hogg's aggressive bowling, and a brilliant, low catch by Hughes at mid-off. Hogg removed Vengsarkar, Chauhan and Yashpal in fourteen balls as India lost four wickets for 30 runs in the last half hour. These setbacks were all the more serious because the new ball was due immediately on the following morning.

Thanks to Viswanath, last out for 44, India added another 40 runs before Hogg and Dymock completed the destruction. However, he could have prolonged the resistance had he made more active efforts to farm the bowling. He took a single off the first ball of the over in which Dymock removed Ghavri and Yadav with successive balls, and later Venkataraghavan was left similarly exposed.

Australia started their reply without opener Darling who had jarred his shoulder badly in a fall which fielding. India's collapse had provided ample evidence that the pitch still offered much to pace bowlers, but the home bowlers could not harness it with Kapil Dev, for once, bowling a poor line. Australia still made a stuttering start and their innings was without stability until Hughes and Yallop, coming together at 75 for three, put on 93 for the fourth wicket. Hughes looked set for a big score when, towards the end of the second day, he was bowled by a beautiful ball from Yadav. Yallop, with 89, atoned for his cheap dismissals in the previous Tests. He was in full cry when he lost his footing while driving Kapil Dev and trod on his wicket. The innings would then have petered out had the injured Darling, batting at number eight, not come to the rescue with a brave 59.

When India batted again Australia remained in control until they had captured the second wicket at 48. Then Chauhan, batting steadfastly, and Viswanath revived the innings and Kirmani, Ghavri and Yadav sustained the recovery. The ball turned from the start of their innings and it was only because Australia's spin resources were restricted to Yardley that India were able to raise a sizeable score.

The clock was in Australia's favour but there was no question of their getting the runs. Although surviving for five hours should not have been an impossible task, the Australian batsmen were undermined by the pitch's uneven bounce.

© John Wisden & Co