won toss): Rest of the World beat England by six wickets
DESPITE an heroic performance by Len Hutton, the Rest
of the World emerged victorious in the opening match of
the CMJ/Wisden Test series, fittingly played at the home
of cricket. Although Hutton carried his bat through
England’s first innings and was last out in the second,
scoring a century both times, he lacked sufficient
Peter May and Colin Cowdrey both contributed
excellent knocks, but England were left to rue poor
late-order batting in both innings: another 50 runs
would have tested the World XI severely on a wearing
pitch. It was Adam Gilchrist’s typically hard-hit 95 not
out in the first innings, which helped to stretch the
World XI’s lead to 148, that ultimately proved crucial.
May won the toss and decided to bat, even though the
prospect of facing Malcolm Marshall and Dennis Lillee
with the new ball was a daunting one. Both Graham Gooch
and Ted Dexter perished to catches in the outfield but
then Hutton and May settled in and put on 153 before May
chipped one master spinner, Muttiah Muralitharan, to
another, Shane Warne.
At 256 for four England seemed on top, but then Warne
had Ian Botham caught behind to start a collapse in
which the last six wickets disappeared for 36. Marshall,
with the second new ball, was too much for the tail and
finished with five for 46. He also rapped Brian Statham
on the glove, which meant that Statham missed the start
of the World XI’s innings and could not immediately
resume his famous new-ball partnership with Fred
Hutton remained defiant and finished 129 not out. He
hit 11 fours in a display reminiscent of his innings at
the Oval in 1950, against West Indies, and in Adelaide
the winter after, when he also carried his bat.
The World XI were hard pressed to post a matchwinning
total as England made regular inroads. The best batting
came from the modern masters, Brian Lara (75) and Sachin
Tendulkar (59), who put on 104 after Viv Richards had
bludgeoned 85, with 12 fours and a towering six off his
old mate, Botham. Honours were roughly even until
Gilchrist’s onslaught, which included eight fours and
three sixes. Statham and Derek Underwood, with four
wickets apiece, were the pick of the bowlers.
Hutton dropped anchor once more when England resumed,
and only three wickets were lost clearing the arrears.
For long periods the spin twins whirred in —
Muralitharan with his back to the pavilion, and Warne
from the Nursery End.
What England really needed was a repeat of the
May-Cowdrey heroics of Edgbaston 1957, when they blunted
the threat of Sonny Ramadhin, but Marshall had May
caught at slip and Warne eventually accounted for
Cowdrey for an elegant 63.
Hutton and Cowdrey had put on 135, but now the
spinners took control. Botham, Underwood and Trueman all
fell without scoring, and Warne dismissed Alan Knott and
Jim Laker cheaply. Statham helped Hutton to add 34 for
the last wicket, extending the overall lead to 154
before the gallant Hutton was last out for 136, made
from 393 balls. He stroked 12 fours and, late on, struck
a six. In all he batted for more than 16 hours.
Trueman and Statham disposed of Barry and Viv
Richards and when Lara and Tendulkar also fell England
had a sniff of a famous victory. But Sunil Gavaskar and
Garry Sobers soon dashed these hopes and took their side
home by six wickets.
As the teams moved on to Barbados the organisers
announced a change to the schedule. Because of travel
difficulties the fourth Test will now be played in
Sydney and the fifth at Eden Gardens, Calcutta.
Computer simulation written by Ananth Narayanan