Third Test Match


At Hyderabad, October 15, 16, 18, 19, 20. Drawn. This was a match of utter frustration for New Zealand, in which India were clearly outplayed, but rain, riots, and rows with the umpires lent the game drama, without pleasure. Again Dowling and Murray gave their side a great start, making 82 without loss at lunch and 106 before the first wicket fell, but Prasanna swept through the rest of the batting and New Zealand were 181 for nine at the close. The second day was washed out by rain. On the next morning, the pitch should have been cut, although it was the rest day. The umpires instructed the groundsman to cut it on the third playing morning. This was an error, and Dowling, rightly, refused to allow compensation for it by the commission of another mistake, when efforts were made to cut it on the third playing morning. India, therefore, had to bat on a pitch uncut for three days. It gave the pace bowlers more psychological than practical assistance, but on it India's reconstructed team--there were four changes in it--collapsed badly. A damp patch, well short of a length, also worried the batsmen. From 21 for one the score slumped to 50 for nine at tea, Hadlee taking four for 10 in that period; Cunis three for 9.

Venkataraghavan and Bedi, with 40 for the last wicket, batted bravely, but a youth, coming on to the field to congratulate the batsmen, was injured by a soldier and this incident provoked an ugly riot, in which gates were broken down, metal chairs flung on to the ground, fires lit in the stands, and the crowd attacked by an army unit. No play was possible in the last half-hour.

Dowling batted four hours, ten minutes for 60 but progress was slow, the Indian bowling rate dropping badly. New Zealand declared at the end of the fourth day, India thus having five and a half hours to score 268. Again the New Zealand pace bowlers were completely on top and the seventh wicket fell at 66. Over two and a quarter hours of playing time remained when the rain clouds burst, and there was a very heavy fall for half an hour, followed by hot sunshine. No real effort was made to get play started again. Instead of the covers being removed, a few workers with rags, some of them women, were given the task of removing the water from the covers and although there were official denials later, it looked very much like a deliberate go-slow policy. For perhaps the first time in cricket history a Test captain ( Dowling) was on the field in bare feet, helping to remove the water. The match was abandoned twenty minutes before time, and this brought another demonstration by the crowd.

© John Wisden & Co