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India's first rubber triumph
Partab Ramchand - 30 November 2001
Even though England were not at full strength when they came to India in 1961-62, it did not mean that the home side were favourites. For one thing, old-timers recalled that 10 years before also, England had visited with a sub-standard side and still managed to share the series. Secondly, the 1961-62 team still had many well-known personalities. The captain Ted Dexter, Ken Barrington, Mike Smith, Geoffrey Pullar and Peter Richardson were all batsmen of proven skill and class. Tony Lock and David Allen were fine spin bowlers, and John Murray was among the leading wicket-keepers in the world. Thirdly, just before coming over to India, England had defeated Pakistan at Lahore by five wickets.
The first three Tests at Bombay, Kanpur and New Delhi ended in high-scoring draws. There was a change in the pattern only in the fourth Test at Calcutta. On a pitch that gave spinners some hope, India carved out a 187-run victory to go ahead in a series that they now could not lose. And, in the final Test at the Corporation Stadium in Madras, they set the seal on their supremacy with an all-round display that could not fail to win admiration.
The first three Tests at Bombay, Kanpur and New Delhi ended in high-scoring draws. There was a change in the pattern only in the fourth Test at Calcutta. On a pitch that gave spinners some hope, India carved out a 187-run victory to go ahead in a series that they now could not lose.
Captain Nari Contractor again won the toss, and his batsmen made runs at a rapid pace. By the close of play on the first day, India had scored 296 for seven, and this was largely due to a third-wicket partnership of 104 runs between Contractor and MAK Pataudi. The captain, shrugging off a bad run, made 86, but it was Pataudi's batting that was a revelation as he repeatedly played lofted strokes to perfection. He made 103 in about two-and-a-half hours.
Bapu Nadkarni (63) and Farokh Engineer (65) then figured in a record 101-run partnership for the eighth wicket, and India posted a challenging total of 428. England made a bad start, losing four wickets for 54, but they then recovered through Smith (73), who received good support from Allen (34) and Peter Parfitt (25).
Still, it was only by means of a last-wicket partnership of 55 runs between Geoffrey Millman (32*) and David Smith (34) that England avoided the follow-on. Salim Durrani took six for 105, and England finished 147 runs in the red. But, on a pitch that was now turning almost square, Lock proved to be more than a handful, and only a superb innings from Vijay Manjrekar saw India get to 190. Coming in at 15 for one, Manjrekar was ninth out at 158; he scored 85, while the next highest was just 17.
Manjrekar's innings was the perfect answer to Lock's six for 65, and now England needed 338 runs for victory. This was never really on the cards and, despite some defiance from Barrington (48), Parfitt (33) and Knight (33), England were all out for 209 some ten minutes after lunch on the final day. Durrani took four for 72, and his match haul of ten for 177 was the single biggest contributory factor to a historic triumph that saw India win the rubber against England for the first time in eight contests and thirty years.
Nawab of Pataudi,
England in India
The 1961-62 series.