Third Test Match

India v Pakistan 1979-80

At Bombay, December 16, 17, 18, 20. India won by 131 runs with a day to spare. The pitch was the same one on which India, only six weeks earlier, had beaten Australia in four days. This time it was even more dry and bare, and in the circumstances, winning the toss took India a long way towards winning the match.

The pitch presented problems from the first day, the ball not only turning but also coming off at varying heights and speeds. India's first reverse, the dismissal of Gavaskar, was caused by a ball that stopped. His opening partner, Chauhan, also went cheaply. That India were 232 for six at the end of the opening day owed much to a stand of 80 for the third wicket between Kirmani and Kapil Dev, who batted aggressively against a tiring attack. Even on the first day, spin provided the most potent bowling and Iqbal Qasim took four for 96.

Although Kirmani and Kapil Dev did not make a substantial addition on the second day, they remained for forty-four minutes, in which time the second new ball had lost its shine. Ghavri and Yadav then put on 67 for the ninth wicket and the Pakistanis were so frustrated at being held up by the tail that Sikander Bakht frequently peppered numbers ten and eleven with bumpers.

Pakistan, beginning their reply to India's 334 shortly after lunch were 112 for six at the close. Even before the spinners established their stranglehold, Binny, a seamer, had taken the first three wickets and Pakistan's batsmen were already in a state of panic. The next morning the four remaining wickets put on 61, proving that conditions, even if difficult, were not as impossible as the earlier batting suggested. Wasim Bari stayed in for an hour and twenty-four minutes and Abdul Qadir, who remained not out with 29, for almost the whole of the morning.

India themselves collapsed quite ignominiously in their second innings - from 117 for three at the end of the third day to 160 all out. Iqbal Qasim taking six for forty. However, India's formidable first innings lead of 161 stood them in good stead, for Pakistan were now 321 in arrears and, to save the match, had to bat for nine hours forty minutes. It was a daunting task on a pitch now at its most spiteful. Again the initial damage was done by pace before Doshi or Yadav was brought on and Ghavri turned to bowling spin.

The ball before Mudassar fell lbw to Ghavri got up and hit him in the face, whereas Zaheer was bowled by one that kept low. Pakistan were routed for 190 in three and a half hours and only Miandad, keen of eye and quick on his feet, was equal to the challenge. He not only survived for two hours nineteen minutes, but exploited the gaps left by aggressive field-placing to score 64, with seven 4s. Coming in at 32 for two, he was eighth out at 178.

For a while Miandad was overshadowed by Asif who, batting resourcefully, scored 26 out of a stand of 36 before falling to a vicious ball from Doshi which lifted as it turned. Although India made steady progress towards victory, they could not have felt totally assured until Miandad was out, leg-before playing forward to Doshi. Considering that the ball was turning so readily, he might have been unfortunate to be given out.

© John Wisden & Co