Third Test

England v India 1967

At Birmingham, July 13, 14, 15. England won by 132 runs with two days to spare.

Stricken by injuries, India did well to dismiss England for 298 and 203, for they were without three recognised opening bowlers, Guha, Mohol and Surti. Consequently, Kunderan, a wicket-keeper, bowled for the only time during the tour. Unfortunately for India, their batting failed in the first innings, when all ten wickets fell on the second day before lunch for 92, their lowest Test total since 1952.

Seldom does a Test pitch prove so responsive to spin on the first day as did this one and the tall Chandrasekhar with his pacy googlies, Prasanna and Venkataraghavan troubled most of the batsmen following a breezy opening stand of 63 by Boycott and Milburn after Close won the toss.

Prasanna put in a fine spell of off spin lasting one and three-quarter hours and at his peak removed Barrington, Close and lllingworth in three overs for three runs. Barrington struck Prasanna and Bedi each for 6 and also hit nine 4's, but England were in an anxious position just after Murray arrived. Yet he played the bowling so easily, ably supported by Snow and Hobbs, that in two hours he hit eight 4's before being last out, having scored 77 out of 116.

India's early successes inspired them to give their finest exhibition of fielding during the tour. Wadekar held four catches close to the bat and Pataudi, Borde and Venkataraghavan saved many runs.

After a night of thunderstorms, the pitch, although it had been covered, was lively on the second morning and India, who had scored nine the previous evening, failed against the pace of Snow and Brown. Nine overs from each bowler sent India reeling to 41 for five and Hobbs and Illingworth completed the rout. There were visions of the Test being finished in two days, something which had not happened in England since 1921 when Warwick Armstrong's Australia side triumphed at Trent Bridge through their great fast bowlers, Gregory and McDonald.

England led by 206 runs, but Close decided not to enforce the follow-on and considering that he had more than three and a half days at his disposal he had little to worry about. Nevertheless, he came in for a great deal of adverse criticism which seemed very unfair. It was his duty as captain to win the match in the way he considered best and the final result fully justified the policy he adopted. More-over, Brown had strained his back and was suspect, a fact that only Close and a few people knew; there was no point in revealing it to the opposition.

So England batted again and with such a handsome advantage it was not surprising that they treated the bowling somewhat light-heartedly. As it was, Close and Amiss retrieved the position after four wickets had fallen for 66, but nothing could detract from the excellent slow bowling of Bedi, Chandrasekhar and Prasanna.

During the day twenty wickets went down for 286 runs and India began their second innings on the third morning wanting 410 to win. Brown broke down in the second over, but on a pitch that became worn, very badly at the far end from the pavilion, there never seemed much likelihood of the touring team succeeding.

Still they performed so creditably that at the tea interval the total was 178 for three. Their two wicket-keepers, Engineer and Kunderan, had seen them through the first hour, after which the left-handed Wadekar batted splendidly for three hours and twenty minutes, being fourth out at 185. Pataudi helped in a stand of 83, but after the tea break the last six wickets went down for the addition of 99, Boycott finishing the match with a superb diving catch in front of the sight screen. England's three spin bowlers, Illingworth, Close and Hobbs, shared the wickets.

© John Wisden & Co