INDIA v ENGLAND 1984-85
An excellent all-round performance was unexpectedly rewarded after lunch on the final day when, by taking India's last six wickets for 28, England were left with a simple task to square the series
An excellent all-round performance was unexpectedly rewarded after lunch on the final day when, by taking India's last six wickets for 28, England were left with a simple task to square the series. A target of 125 in 59 minutes and twenty overs proved no problem on a small ground running fast and Lamb made the winning hit with 8.2 overs in hand. Though a draw should have been within India's grasp on a slow, turning pitch, Edmonds and Pocock bowled superbly, promoting and sustaining the collapse by relentless accuracy to precisely set attacking fields. The crucial wicket was that of Patil, fifth out at 207. Pegged down by the spinners for 40 overs, he revealed a note of desperation in his final stroke, an attempted pull off Edmonds, which resulted in a mis-hit to mid wicket.
The result ended England's longest-ever spell without a victory and was especially well-deserved as Gower lost what seemed a crucial toss and, as at Bombay, the umpiring left something to be desired. Of several questionable decisions, seemingly the only one that favoured England came at the end of India's first innings when Sivaramakrishnan was adjudged run out by Robinson's direct hit on the non-striker's stumps from cover point.
England, fielding the team beaten in the first Test, were given a flying start by Ellison, who had Gavaskar caught at the wicket in the second over with an out-swinger. Edmonds and Pocock then took control so that at tea, when India were 144 for six, the advantage of batting first on a suspect pitch had almost disappeared. Soon afterwards, however, Kirmani was missed at slip by Lamb off Edmonds, and with Kapil Dev surviving a hard-hit caught and bowled to Pocock's left, the last four wickets held out till after lunch on the second day, adding 167.
England soon lost Fowler. But first with Gatting, then Lamb, and later Cowdrey and Downton, Robinson made certain of a lengthy lead on first innings with a determined maiden Test hundred. In eight and three-quarter hours at the crease, with seventeen 4s, he gave his only chance when he was 54, Kirmani missing stumping him off Sivaramakrishnan's googly, which almost hit the off stump. Eliminating the threat of the occasional low bounce by wary play against short balls on the stumps, Robinson shared three-figure stands with Lamb and Downton before, early on the fourth day, he was caught at the wicket off his gloves from a ball from Kapil Dev that lifted unexpectedly off a length.
Most of Robinson's runs came off his legs and behind square on the off side, where by opening the blade he repeatedly found gaps; but when the spinners over-pitched, he off-drove with certainty and power. Downton, with his highest Test score, and Edmonds consolidated by adding 55 for the seventh wicket. But when Edmonds was out to a mis-hit in the over after lunch, Sivaramakrishnan polished off the innings in 40 minutes, restricting England's lead to 111, and completing his third successive bag of six wickets in the series.
Cowans increased England's advantage by dismissing Prabhakar, who was opening in place of Gaekwad (ankle injury), and Vengsarkar in four overs. But Gavaskar and Amarnath, punishing the spinners, took India to 128 for two at close of play, 17 ahead. On a pitch lasting much better than expected, a draw now seemed much the likeliest result. But when Edmonds hit Amarnath's off stump with a ball that curled in and spun away in the second over of the final day, and an hour later Gavaskar, making room to force Pocock through his three-man off side field, was bowled by one that turned sharply and kept low, the scene was set for the afternoon collapse. Patil and Kapil, who mis-hit Pocock to long off the ball after driving him for 6, were wickets India threw away.