First Test

India v England

Toss: England. Test debut: England - D.Wilson

After making a brisk, challenging start on the first day, when they scored 277 for two wickets at three runs an over, India strangely played for safety when England were subsequently stricken by illness.

On the second day, Stewart and Parks were out of action, and Titmus and Knight were suffering less severely from stomach trouble.

Yet an ill-advised defensive innings by Manjrekar, who batted four hours, forty minutes, and excessive use of Nadkarni's negative left-arm bowling so held up their progress that Stewart, the most seriously afflicted, was not required to bat until the fourth day.

England had no difficulty in playing through to a draw. At the close they were only 52 runs short of victory, but that fact gives a false picture. The task of making 293 in four hours, twenty-five minutes was not feasible on a dusting pitch, helpful to spinners although slow, on which forcing batting was risky.

Ultimately, Mortimore, who drove splendidly, and Sharpe hit 86 in the last sixty-five minutes after India had called off the hunt. Yet England, led by Smith in a rousing innings of leg-side hitting, attacked boldly. In so doing they opened the door to the Indians, who dropped their catches.

The men of the match were Kunderam and Titmus. Kunderam made his first Test century, and his 192, containing twenty-one 4's was then the highest score by an Indian against England. On the first day he hit 170 off 91 overs in five and a half hours. On the second he seemed influenced by Manjrekar's caution and spent eighty minutes adding 22.

Titmus bowled splendidly throughout, and at one point in the first innings he dismissed Kunderam, Pataudi and Durani in the course of eight successive maidens. His nine for 162 was a notable performance on a slow pitch, which greatly favoured the bat for three days or more.

Bolus, five minutes under seven hours for 88, and Barrington, five and a quarter hours for 80, played vital parts in holding up India when England's batting forces were depleted.

It was then that Nadkarni bowled 131 balls without conceding a run, but his economy did no service to his side, for whom wickets, not runs, were the main consideration. The better bowling was done by leg spinner Borde, the major wicket taker, who allowed only 132 runs in 89.4 overs.

© John Wisden & Co