First Test Match


At Brabourne Stadium, Bombay, November 4, 5, 6, 8, 9. Australia won by eight wickets, shortly after lunch on the fifth day. The match lacked neither drama nor good cricket. To boot there was also a riot on the evening of the fourth day. While the bowlers on either side came out with equal honours, Australia batted better than India. Sardesai and Borde, after their success at Poona against the tourists, regained their places in the Indian side. This was anticipated but not the omission of S. Venkataraghavan, off-spinner, after his performances against New Zealand the previous month. This led to such an uproar that he was taken into the eleven on the morning of the match, S. Guha graciously agreeing to stand down.

The Nawab of Pataudi won the toss and Sardesai and Engineer got off to a flashy start of 39. This was soon offset when McKenzie, in an admirable burst of speed, dismissed both the openers and Borde for 42 runs. He claimed them in six balls for two runs. Pataudi and Mankad retrieved the position with a stand of 146 runs, a fourth-wicket record against Australia. Pataudi was dropped by Mallett at square-leg off Gleeson when he was five, and Mankad escaped when 26, Redpath at leg-slip failing to catch a deflection off Mallett.

The pair then batted first with determination and later fluently. Mankad, promoted to number three, was content to jog along till he reached his fifty and then broke into confident strokes. He was out nine minutes after tea when McKenzie bowled him with the second new ball. Mankad scored 74 in four and a quarter hours, with seven 4's. Pataudi was not out with 73 and the score of 202 for four at close of play showed a splendid recovery. All four wickets had fallen to McKenzie. However, on the next day India were all out for 271. Pataudi fell five short of his hundred, when he skied a leg-break from Gleeson for an easy catch by Lawry at mid-on. He had batted for over six hours and hit fourteen 4's. McKenzie claimed one more wicket, that of Abid Ali, to finish with five for 69. Connolly and Gleeson shared the rest, the latter having an impressive analysis.

Australia finished the day with 93 for one wicket, that of Lawry to a fine delivery from Prasanna. They resumed after a rest day and went on to score 322 for seven wickets by the end of the third day. At tea, after Stackpole had hit a fine century, and with Walters and Redpath at the crease, they were 259 for three but the Indian spinners then struck and gained some quick wickets. Stackpole scored 103 in four hours, fifty minutes, with fourteen 4's, while Chappell was out for 31 when in full flow. He was bowled by a beautiful delivery from Prasanna, which beat him outside the crease and hit the stumps. Walters and Redpath put on 118 runs in two and three-quarter hours. Redpath was the dominant partner and executed many elegant drives among his thirteen 4's. Australia were all out for 345 on the fourth morning. Prasanna finished with five for 121; he was supported admirably by the left-arm spinner Bedi and to a lesser extent by Venkataraghavan.

India then collapsed in the second innings for 137, only Wadekar showing resistance to the clever spin of Gleeson and the cutters of Connolly. The last hour of play was marred by rioting from a section of the crowd, which did not approve of a decision against Venkataraghavan. The umpire upheld the catch behind the wicket by Taber off Connolly. Bottles were hurled on to the ground and chairs and canvas coverings were set on fire. But in din and smoke the play went on. India, 125 for nine at close of play were all out on the next morning. Australia, though they lost Stackpole and Lawry for only 13 runs, had no trouble in winning without further loss.

© John Wisden & Co