Match reports


At Manchester, June 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

At Manchester, June 24, 25, 26, 27, 28. Drawn. There was not one day in this match that was free of bad weather. No play was possible after lunch on the second day and none at all on the last. The previous Test, at Lord's, had produced enough cricket of quality to raise interest in this match, yet the total attendance for the four days on which play was possible was 21,611 - with takings amounting to only £71,986.
Despite an encouraging weather forecast, the crowd on the Sunday, the fourth day, was the thinnest. The abstainers missed a batting feast, the like of which is rare in modern Test cricket. No fewer than 334 runs were scored from 93 overs, with Viswanath, Kirmani, Patil and Kapil Dev excelling themselves in mending severe damage inflicted the previous evening by Willis and Pringle.
The pitch was bare enough at the Stretford end for England to play two spinners, Miller being included in preference to the uncapped Jarvis, of Kent, who was standing by to replace an injured Allott. India, having found four bowlers inadequate in the first Test, found room for the medium-paced Nayak, omitting Parkar and promoting Shastri to open the innings with Gavaskar. Their other change was Patil for Malhotra, although Patil's record against the counties was no recommendation for his inclusion.
England won the toss for the seventh time in as many Tests against India and batted. Although the air was heavy with moisture, there were the doubts about the durability of the pitch to be considered. In the event, the ball moved about and Kapil Dev and Madan Lal posed a threat which Cook and Tavaré, with some luck, survived, staying together nearly until tea and putting on 106. Yet this healthy start, painstakingly achieved ( Cook took 173 balls to make 66) was frittered away. At Tavaré's exit, England were 161 for four. Randall was out at the same score, to a ball from Doshi that turned and bounced. Doshi bowled superbly on the first day for his three economical wickets.
England's fortunes were revived as quickly and dramatically as they had been dissipated, Botham making 50 off 46 balls, with a 6 and ten 4s. On the second day, about half an hour after the start, Botham, having added only 7 to his overnight 60, took a painful blow on the toe of his left foot from a full toss by Nayak. Treatment brought no relief and Botham summoned a runner, but any discomfort Botham must have felt was minimal compared to the agony he inflicted on India's bowlers. For the next frenzied hour, he drove, cut and pulled with brutal power, and when he reached his tenth Test century - his fourth against India - he had scored 32 runs since his injury off only twenty balls, seven of which were boundary hits.
After the battering they had taken from Botham, who, when he played on to Shastri via his back leg, had made 128 (169 balls, two 6s, nineteen 4s) and added 169 with Miller, India could not have been distressed when rain, starting at lunchtime, ended the second day. Further delays next morning and afternoon meant that England batted almost until five o'clock on the third day. Miller, ninth out after a stay of 324 minutes, missed his maiden first-class hundred by only 2 runs.
India had seventeen overs to face before the close that evening, and were immediately in trouble against Willis. At 5, Shastri, the makeshift opener, was caught close in, fending off a short ball, and in Willis's next over Gavaskar fell to a brilliant catch at second slip by Tavaré. Before the end of the day, Vengsarkar, forcing Pringle off the back foot, was caught at fourth slip and India were 25 for 3. The first stage of their recovery was brought about by the overnight partnership between Viswanath and night-watchman Kirmani, who, batting bravely and responsibly, lifted the score to 112 before Viswanath top-edged a square-cut to Taylor.
Once this partnership was split, two more wickets fell before, at 173, Patil, then 25, was joined by Kapil Dev. India still needed 52 runs to save the follow-on. The partners conferred and, seemingly, decided on clearly defined roles, Kapil's part being to play in the only manner he knows. Patil relinquished the authority with which he had started and the follow-on mark was quickly left behind. Willis came in for heavy punishment as Kapil Dev hit 65 (one 6, nine 4s) off 55 balls in a partnership of 96 with Patil.
After Kapil's exit Patil, who had just reached 50, staged a spectacular assault, of which Willis was again the chief victim. In his first over with the second new ball, which included a no-ball, Willis was hit for six 4s, a new Test record. The fifth of them took Patil to his century, his last 50 runs having come in even time off 51 balls.