Second Test

INDIA v ENGLAND 1992-93

Toss: India. Test debut: R. J. Blakey.

England were well beaten by 11 men and a plate of prawns as India won the match - and with it the series - by an innings and 22 runs. The night before the match Gooch and Gatting had eaten in the Chinese restaurant at the team's hotel; their meal included an extra plate of prawns. Shortly before the start of play Gooch, complaining of sickness and dizziness, was forced to withdraw from the game. Later, after acting-captain Stewart had lost the toss, Gatting and Smith, who had apparently eaten chicken in his room, both left the field feeling ill. There followed considerable debate as to whether the players had ignored the advice they were given about diet. But since the team had previously eaten plenty of both seafood and Chinese food (which is very common in India) with no ill effect, the management decided not to add disciplinary action to the players' troubles. England then started preparing their own lunchtime buffet for the players, consisting of corned beef, baked beans and nan bread served by manager Bob Bennett, physiotherapist David Roberts and chaplain Andrew Wingfield Digby in the dressing-room, known thereafter as Bob's Bistro.

This was the third time Gooch had been forced to drop out overseas since he became captain. The effect was predictable. In his absence from the final two Tests in the West Indies in 1989-90, England lost in Barbados and Antigua to surrender a 1-0 lead. They lost again in Brisbane in the First Test of the 1990-91 Ashes series, a defeat from which they never recovered. The sequence continued here after England exacerbated their problems with another piece of muddled selection. In the absence of their most experienced batsman and opener, and with Smith and Gatting both poorly, it seemed obvious to everyone outside the tour selection committee that the fit-again Atherton must play. However, Stewart's reluctance to open the batting, keep wicket and captain the side led them to include Blakey as wicket-keeper and Smith as Stewart's opening partner. Atherton was not even among the four substitutes used on the first day.

The pattern of play was much the same as it had been in Calcutta. Sidhu, on the first day, and Tendulkar, on the second, completed excellently-crafted centuries in India's first innings total of 560 for six declared, their highest total against England at home. Tendulkar's six-hour 165 - including 24 fours and a six - was a gem but, had a third umpire, using TV replay, been on hand to review a run-out attempt by Lewis when he was on nine, India might not have made such a conclusive total. Kapil Dev, in his 122nd Test, made 66 not out; when he reached 35 he became the first man to score 5,000 Test runs and take 400 wickets. The lack of penetration in England's bowling was again disappointing. Tufnell, whose omission from the Calcutta Test had caused such controversy, finished wicketless after 41 overs, Salisbury bowled too many long hops and, on a pitch that was playing easily, Lewis, Jarvis and Malcolm posed no threat to the Indian batsmen.

England could take a little comfort in decent scores by Stewart, Hick, who was at last beginning to look the part, and Fairbrother, with his first Test fifty. But the loss of six wickets for 63, in the time-honoured fashion of England collapses, meant that they could not avoid the follow-on. After a fifty from Smith, the highlight of the second innings was an exciting maiden Test hundred by Lewis, who decided to attack on the basis that England had nothing to lose, and reached three figures with a six off Raju, shortly before the close of the fourth day, his 25th birthday. The Lewis interlude lasted only 170 minutes and it took India just 35 minutes of the final morning to finish the match. Again the spinners, Kumble, Raju and Chauhan, did the damage, exposing England's leaden-footed lack of technique; as in Calcutta, they took 17 of the 20 wickets. In the second innings the leg-spinner Kumble bowled quite beautifully to take six for 64 as England duly and meekly succumbed to their heaviest defeat by India and only their second by an innings. The previous instance was also at Madras, in 1951-52. Afterwards, Fletcher bemoaned the lack of turning pitches in domestic cricket which meant that England's batsmen were ill-equipped for these conditions.

Man of the Match: S. R. Tendulkar.

Close of play: First day, India 275-2 (N. S. Sidhu 104*, S. R. Tendulkar 70*); Second day, England 19-0 (R. A. Smith 6*, A. J. Stewart 10*); Third day, England 221-7 (N. H. Fairbrother 38*, P. W. Jarvis 0*); Fourth day, England 231-8 (C. C. Lewis 108*, P. C. R. Tufnell 10*).

© John Wisden & Co
 
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