October 1986

The second tied Test

It had to happen: eventually Test cricket was going to produce another tie, to go with the historic Brisbane match of 1960-61

Australia 574 for 7 dec and 170 for 5 dec tied with India 397 and 347

Maninder Singh protests at being given out lbw to Greg Matthews as the Australians celebrate the last wicket © Wisden Cricket Monthly
It had to happen: eventually Test cricket was going to produce another tie, to go with the historic Brisbane match of 1960-61. The first tie came in the 498th Test of all; the 1052nd Test provided tie number two. Like the Brisbane match, this Test ended with one possible ball left to be bowled.

India were fortunate to be in any sort of winning position, Australia having declared their first innings at 574 early on the third day, while a generous second declaration left the home side 348 to win on the final day, in front of a large, excited crowd of over 30,000.

India's chase began safely, with Gavaskar, playing his 100th consecutive Test, steering them to 94 by lunch for the loss of Srikkanth. Offspinner Matthews, who bowled unchanged after the eighth over, had removed the dashing opener for 39. The vastly experienced pair of Gavaskar and Amarnath added 103, and by tea India were 193 for 2, needing a further 155 from 30 overs for a famous victory. With the score 251 Gavaskar fell for an invaluable 90, and two runs later Kapil Dev went for a single. Azharuddin and Pandit played responsibly for 42 and 39 respectively, while Shastri hit sensibly, taking two sixes off Matthews. When Pandit was bowled the score was 331 for 6, with 17 needed. Bright then took a hand, having the hard-hitting Chetan Sharma caught on the boundary, trapping wicketkeeper More lbw for a duck and bowling the lunging Yadav. This brought in Maninder Singh, no batsman, with four needed from the final over.

Shastri managed a two, followed by a single to level the scores. Maninder had three balls from which to conjure the winning run, but he fatally played back to the second and was out lbw. The Australian spinners had shared all 10 wickets, with Matthews taking five in each innings. The Australian side, later to be roundly criticised in the Indian Press for 'gamesmanship and intimidation', were ecstatic: at Brisbane no-one had been sure of the result, but they all knew this time.

After two days, any possibility of an Australian defeat looked to have been avoided, and after three days an innings win for the tourists seemed probable. Australia reached 211 for 2 on the first day, vice-captain Boon scoring his third century in four Tests against India. He batted for 331 minutes, hitting 21 fours, and passed 1000 Test runs when he had made 70. At the close Jones had made 56 and nightwatchman Bright 1. Jones had been at the centre of an unusual dispute when the umpires ordered him to change his spiked boots as he was damaging the pitch. Australia's cricket manager Bobby Simpson (who scored 92 in the Brisbane tie) came on to the playing area and pointed out that the umpires could stop the batsman running down the pitch but could not order him to change his footwear. Jones later changed voluntarily into rubber-soled shoes.

Dean Jones feels the heat during his epic innings © Wisden Cricket Monthly
On the second day, Jones, playing in only his third Test and having been recalled after nearly three years, took his score to 210, the highest by an Australian in a Test in India (previously 167, by Graham Yallop at Calcutta in 1979-80). In all he batted for 503 minutes, facing 330 balls and hitting 27 fours and two sixes. His first century took 335 minutes, the second 164. He fought off the effects of nausea and leg-cramps during his innings, after which he was so dehydrated that he was put on a saline drip and detained overnight in hospital.

After Bright went for 30, Border came in, and was dropped by Kapil Dev before he had scored. He went on to 106, his 19th Test century, making the most of being dropped twice more, by substitute Shivaramakrishnan (when 67) and by Kapil Dev again (98). Jones and Border set a new fourth-wicket record against India of 178 (formerly 159, by Neil Harvey and Sam Loxton at Melbourne in 1947-48). Border also moved past Simpson's record Australian aggregate of 1125 runs against India.

The declaration came after 37 minutes on the third morning, following the use of the heavy roller and warnings to both batsmen for running on the pitch. India, without Vengsarkar (not playing after injuring his back during the second one-day international), made a hectic start to their reply, Srikkanth reaching 50 in 55 minutes. Soon after lunch Amarnath (run out) and Srikkanth fell to successive balls, and although the middle order batted solidly enough (Azharuddin making the most of being missed three times), no-one stayed to make the really big score required. Shastri looked the best of the batsmen before receiving a splendid ball from Matthews. By the close India were 270 for 7, Kapil Dev 33, Chetan Sharma 14; a further 175 were needed to avoid the follow-on.

Bob Simpson congratulates Greg Matthews © Wisden Cricket Monthly
The Indian captain saved his side on the fourth day, scoring his fourth Test century in typical style: he hit 21 fours in all, 11 of them in his second fifty. He received staunch support from Sharma and Yadav, in partnerships of 85 and 57. Australia resumed, looking for quick runs, and by the close had made 170 for 5. Marsh had become Shastri's 100th Test wicket, which completed a notable allround double for India's vice-captain; with his first scoring shot he had passed 2000 runs in Tests.

Border had been expected to bat on for a short while on the last day, but he chose instead to declare at the overnight score, leaving India 348 to win. The rest is now history.

It was unfortunate that such a memorable match was marred by poor behaviour from both sides, especially on the tense final day, during which Border argued openly with umpire Dotiwala. Bright, Matthews and Zoehrer also disputed some decisions. Earlier in the match Srikkanth had shaken his fist under the nose of close-fielder Bright, while Maninder ran 40 yards to trade insults with Jones after dismissing him in the second innings.