Third Test Match



The fast bowling of Trueman and England's superlative catching and fielding made this a memorable Test. Sensing the opportunity presented him through a pitch greasy on top after rain, Trueman produced so much pace and extracted such life from the turf that he thoroughly demoralised the opposition. Much as he was assisted both by a series of splendid catches close to the wicket and by a surprising amount of irresolute batting, he looked to be England's best fast bowling prospect since the war. His pace and lift were only two of the factors which created this impression. Just as important were his considerable improvement in control compared with his bowling in the first two Tests, his abounding confidence and his ardour.

Conditions typical of Manchester's weather reputation provided the background to the opening day's play. Not only did showers limit the cricket to three hours and fifty minutes, but the atmosphere was always heavy and the light never good. After Hutton won the toss for the first time in the series, he and Sheppard took such care to give England a safe start that only 28 runs came in the first hour and 48 in the second. Their task was not altogether easy, as Phadkar and Divecha moved the ball late in the humid air and occasionally a ball lifted awkwardly.

In the second over after lunch, when the light was at its worst, Sheppard's impressive innings ended. Only one more ball was bowled before the umpires decided to suspend play. Soon after the resumption Hutton (56) passed the Test aggregate of 5,410 of J. B. Hobbs, and he continued his polished display to the end of the day, when he required 15 for his 16th century in Test cricket and the 111th of his career. All day India were handicapped by a wet ball. No doubt this was responsible for the limited use Hazare made of his slow bowlers.

Cold, drab weather and showers persisted also throughout the second day, when play was restricted to three and a quarter hours. Until the advent of Evans, England's innings remained as sombre as the setting. Hutton, taking an hour and a quarter to complete his century, did not reach his form of the first day and for a long time May batted with exceeding caution. When he became more free May excelled with the on-drive, and once he drove Mankad high over mid-off with a stroke perfect in timing and punishing in its power. For half an hour before the close Evans brought gaiety to the cricket and, to the delight of 25,000 people, he continued his assault on the third morning. In two periods amounting to an hour and ten minutes he hit 71 out of 84. In his last over Evans took a 2 and three 4's from successive balls and gave the bowler a return catch from the next.

During the closing stages of England's innings the pitch appeared to be easy, but, with his extra pace, Trueman quickly demonstrated the devil which could be pounded from it. Bowling down wind at extreme speed, making the ball whip from the ground and often rear nastily, Trueman was the chief instrument in India's rout for a score equalling their lowest in Test cricket, that against Australia at Brisbane in 1947-48. A magnificent catch at short-leg by Lock when he touched the ball for the first time in a Test match helped Bedser to Mankad's wicket, and, equally well supported in the field, Trueman took the next six. His field contained three slips, three men in the gulley, two at short-leg and a short mid-off, and every chance, no matter how fast or difficult, was taken with assurance. Trueman's analysis was one of the best in Test history.

Trueman began India's second collapse by dismissing the unfortunate Roy, who failed to score in either innings, and such was the measure of England's ascendancy that Hutton did not need to recall him for a second spell. After a short stand by Adhikari and Hazare, India crumpled so much against Bedser and Lock that the last seven wickets fell for 27. In their two innings India batted only three hours and three-quarters. This provided the only modern instance of a Test team dismissed twice in one day. The victory ensured England of the rubber.

© John Wisden & Co