Fifth Test Match


They made history by recording their first Test victory, and they did it in emphatic style. Undoubtedly India were the superior all-round side and they went all out for success from the first ball. Their hero was Mankad, who bowled superbly in each innings, taking twelve wickets in the match for 108. His performance of eight for 55 in the first innings has seldom been bettered in Test cricket when it is considered that the pitch gave him little assistance. Mankad's bowling inspired the whole side, the fielding being far better than in previous matches and the batting possessed a more adventurous spirit, necessary for the occasion. England disappointed badly. There was no real reason for the batting collapse in the first innings which virtually decided the match. Hopes that they could stage one of their renowned recoveries were dashed when the pitch turned difficult after the third day.

Yet again India made five changes from their previous side. Manjrekar, Nayudu, Shinde, Joshi and Adhikari stood down for Mushtaq Ali, Amarnath, Gopinath, Divecha and Sen. As originally chosen the side included Adhikari and omitted Umrigar, but a wrist injury due to a fall gave Umrigar another opportunity which he seized splendidly. Carr led England for the first time, Howard standing down with pleurisy, this being the one change from the Kanpur side.

Carr won the toss, giving England a 3-2 advantage in the series, but they were soon in difficulties, Lowson being bowled by a splendid breakback with three scored. Spooner and Graveney looked like bringing about a recovery, but the advent of Mankad at 65 changed the course of the match. Two or three times Mankad almost lured Graveney out of his ground before the batsman could resist no longer and moved forward to a ball well on the off and was stumped.

Spooner and Robertson added 60 for the next stand, but again just when England looked to be getting themselves out of trouble a wicket fell, Spooner, who stayed two hours fifty minutes, being caught at cover off Hazare's second ball. For a change, Watkins failed and Poole was never comfortable. With half the side out for 197 only two recognised batsmen, Robertson and Carr, remained. They made a good effort with a partnership of 47 before Robertson was brilliantly caught and bowled after a stay of four and a half hours. Mankad followed this by taking the last four wickets which fell for 22, three of them stumped when lured forward by the flight.

During the afternoon the death of King George VI was announced and arrangements were changed, the second day being made the rest day. Subsequently India batted consistently, with Roy again in fine form. Fourth out at 191, he scored his second century of the series and hit fifteen 4's in 111, made in three hours fifty minutes. India really took control after the fall of the fifth wicket, Phadkar and Umrigar adding 104 and Umrigar and Gopinath 93 in eighty minutes. Umrigar took out his bat for 130 after four hours thirty-five minutes, a splendid effort following a run of disappointing scores in the Tests.

England, 191 behind, survived the last quarter of an hour on the third day, but with the pitch wearing they were soon struggling next day. Robertson again batted well and made top score for the second time, Watkins showed he was still full of fight, but they were almost alone in their resistance and the match ended before tea on the fourth day. The scenes at the finish were surprisingly subdued, but the Indian officials and players were delighted at the first victory by their country at the twenty-fifth attempt to win a Test match.

© John Wisden & Co