Second Test Match

England v India 1971

At Old Trafford, Manchester, August 5, 6, 7, 9, 10. Drawn. No play was possible on the fifth day because of rain when India at 65 for three, were in a seemingly hopeless position, after being set 420 to win. Conditions were all against the tourists in this match. A green pitch, ideal for the fast and medium pace bowlers, was continually freshened by showers or outbreaks of rain, rendering the Indian slow bowlers mostly ineffective.

The game was a triumph for Lever, recalled to the England ranks because of Snow's omission. He followed his highest innings of 88 not out with bowling figures of five for 70 in the Indian first innings. Sadly too few Lancashire supporters turned up to watch these feats for the total attendance wasd only 26,047 and receipts of £10,851 did not cover expenses. By contrast nearly 30,000 had watched the Gillette Cup semi-final on the ground in the week preceeding the Test.

Gifford broke a thumb while fielding and did not bowl a ball in the match. Luckily for England he was not missed as Illingworth had a strong hand of quicker bowlers. While India played the same side as at Lord's, England brought in the powerful Warwickshire batsman, Jameson, for his first Test because Boycott was unfit with a pulled hamstring. Fletcher received another chance in place of Amiss.

The match began with the all too familiar England collapse, this time against the medium pace of Abid Ali. Having taken four wickets previously on the tour at a cost of 115 apiece, Abid Ali removed four of the top five England batsmen in his first 11.1 overs for 15 runs. His swing and cut brought him the wickets of Jameson, Edrich and Fletcher in the space of ten balls in his sixth and seventh overs. Some of the strokes were unworthy of England batsmen.

Luckhurst spent the first two hours making 13 and then blossmed out to lead the recovery with an innings of 78. He was aided by the lively Knott, who contributed 41 to 75 added for the fifth wicket. Luckhurst battled away for four and a quarter hours before falling to a catch in the deep attempting his twelfth boundary. The recovery was completed on the second day by Illingworth and Lever whose partnership of 168 was a record for the England eighth wicket against India.

The Indian bowlers were handicapped by a wet ball for much of the time, but the batsmen deserved full credit for the way they turned the tables. Illingworth made his second Test century in four hours, eighteen minutes. Lever, who scored many of his runs by powerful leg hitting, might have reached three figures with more effective support from the tail-enders. As it was he took out his bat after three and three quarter hours when England were all out for 386.

On Saturday India struggled to avoid the follow-on, a task they accomplished with their eight-wicket pair together. Fifties by Gavaskar, his ninth in eleven Test innings, and Solkar prevented a rout. Although Lever gained the best bowling figures, Price had one superbly hostile spell which brought him Gavaskar's wicket. He showed remarkable pace which belied his age of 34.

With a first-innings lead of 174 England made good use of the fourth day, scoring 245 for three before Illingworth declared at tea, and then capturing three wickets for 65 runs by the close. Luckhurst hit his second Test century of the summer and Edrich recaptured his best form in an innings of 59.Jameson hit lustily for 28, and Gletcher and d'Oliveira also made spirited contributions. The Indians bowled a meagre ration of 30 overs before lunch and limited England to 89 for one. In the afternoon 156 runs came from 36 overs as the batsmen played festival-style cricket. Luckhurst hit freely following a sticky start, his hundred took three and a quarter hours.

India were soon in trouble. Price twice knocked out the off-stump to remove Mankad and Wadekar and when Hutton had Gavaskar caught behind, their main hope lay with the rain which was never very far away in this match. It duly returned with a vengeance and the match was abandoned soon after lunch on the fifth day with the ground waterlogged.

© John Wisden & Co