Fifth Test Match


At Calcutta, October 26, 27, 28, 30, 31. Drawn. Although Australia, batting first, put up their biggest total of the series, and gained a first innings lead of 95, they were eventually in danger of losing after their challenging declaration in the second innings left India to score 247 runs in 245 minutes.

For the first three days the pitch was miserably slow, giving the bowlers no hope and compelling the batsmen to play with circumspection. Australia lost Hilditch in the first over but their later application and patience were rewarded. Yallop proved to be successful opener with a sound 167 in eight and a half hours during which he put on 97 for the second wicket with Border and 206 for the third with Hughes. Kapil Dev took the first four wickets and Doshi troubled the lower half of the batting order, although Australia were encouraged by an aggressive 61 not out in an hour and a half from Yardley.

Despite the early dismissal of Gavaskar, India replied with 347, thanks principally to Vengsarkar and Viswanath, who played his best innings of the series. India might have closed the gap further had Vengsarkar not been compelled to retire injured at tea on the third day with the score 169 for two. He resumed at 290 for five shortly before lunch on the fourth day, but made no further impact. Although Australia's pace bowlers were given no encouragement, Yardley bowled his off-breaks superbly and economically.

In their second innings Australia were soon in trouble and, at 81 for five at the start of the last day, were in danger of losing. But the resolute Hughes struck out boldly and Australia declared after adding 70 in 72 minutes.

Although the ball had turned on the fourth day - a factor in Hughes's declaration - the heavy roller produced a calmer pitch on the final day. Lacking in bounce, it was of little use to the wrist-spin of Higgs, and Australia's only finger-spinner, Yardley, failed to reproduce his form of the Indian first innings.

India started well, reaching 52 in 73 minutes. But, following Gavaskar's departure to a brilliant slip catch by Hilditch, they lost Vengsarkar and Viswanath in close succession and were thrown off course, foiled by superb bowling from Dymock. Yashpal strove to keep India's victory bid alive, but Narasimha Rao could not get going.

© John Wisden & Co