Fourth Test Match

INDIA v AUSTRALIA 1979-80

At Delhi, October, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18. Drawn. Although often in danger Australia, following on 212 behind, comfortably averted defeat. It was curious that they should have been in such difficulty, for it was the one contest in the series in which Hogg bowled at his fastest and at his best, even if the fact is not reflected in his figures. The fortunes of both sides were affected by dropped catches.

India lost some advantage by taking more than ten hours over their first innings, despite the accumulation of a solid 267 for three on the first day, with Gavaskar scoring his 21st Test century and Viswanath well on the way to his eleventh. Gavaskar, who was out to the last ball of the day, started badly and had two lucky escapes, his first at only 13 when Hilditch put him down at second slip.

Viswanath's was the key innings. He saved 45 of the 72 added in the last ninety minutes on the first day and provided the momentum on the second morning as Yashpal, who had bagged a pair in the previous Test, was totally inhibited, taking 200 minutes to reach 50. With the second new ball, Hogg was intensely hostile and, had Viswanath surrendered, the innings would have fallen apart. Safely past his 50, Yashpal participated in the furious onslaught preparatory to the declaration, which was made as soon as he reached his maiden Test century on his seventh appearance.

The footsore Australians must have been grateful that the rest day followed. Yet their innings, begun late on the second day, would not have lasted through the third but for Whatmore's gallant 77, scored from 91 balls and including fourteen 4s. Australia could not save the follow-on, but a defiant last-wicket stand between Wright and Higgs, lasting eighty-seven minutes, bought Australia valuable time which later proved crucial.

India's outstanding bowler was Kapil Dev who, aided by high-class wicket-keeping from Kirmani, took five for 82. Kapil Dev was magnificently supported by Hyderabad spinners Yadav and Narasimha Rao.

The pitch had eased by the fourth morning when Australia began their second innings. Yet despite a second-wicket stand of 127 between Hilditch and Border, they were in grave peril until lunch on the last day, when they were rescued by Whatmore and Sleep. Australia finished with a big total of 413, but would have been in dire straits had Whatmore not been allowed two escapes. He was dropped at silly point when only 10 and soon afterwards luckily avoided being run out.

© John Wisden & Co