Home > Features > Moments in history >

India tour of England 1952: Rain comes as saving grace on disastrous tour

August 19, 1952 - Rain comes as saving grace on India's disastrous tour of England

England captain Len Hutton (L) tosses the coin and Indian captain Vijay Hazare calls incorrectly at the Oval  © Getty Images

60 years ago, the final day at The Oval was rained off, saving India from the humiliation of a 0-4 whitewash. Arunabha Sengupta looks back at the horrid tour and how it came to a conclusion.

It had been a prolonged nightmare.

At Headingley, a debutant Fred Trueman had them reeling at 0 for four. The encounter Lord’s had been Vinoo Mankad’s Test, but that had not stopped England from triumphing by eight wickets. At Old Trafford, Trueman had taken eight for 31 to knock them over for 58 in the first innings, before Alec Bedser and Tony Lock had skittle them out for 82 the second time around.

Trailing 0-3 in the series, India started the last match at The Oval on the back foot, conceding 143 runs before managing to take the first wicket. But, some tidy bowling and fielding brought them some success, and with rain interrupting, Len Hutton declared the innings at 326 for six on the second day.

Six for five, the ordeal continues

Immediately, the Indian batsmen went through a sense of déjà vu. The horrors of Headingley and Old Trafford came rushing back. After a maiden over by Bedser to Mankad, Trueman carefully measured 30 yards, covered it in 14 strides and bowled like the continuing gale that had blown India away. His first ball was short, Pankaj Roy poked it off his ribs, and Tony Lock standing fine in the leg trap dived full length to hold a magnificent catch.

The next over, Mankad cut Bedser for a two and a three. This brought Hemu Adhikari on to strike and he immediately turned the ball towards the leg, and Trueman, one of the four short legs, threw himself forward to grab it.

Next, Mankad hooked Trueman, sending the ball straight up over the second slip, with more than enough time for Godfrey Evans to move across and catch it.

Vijay Manjrekar snicked the first ball and was dropped by Bedser, and it resulted in a single.

Finally, with the score on six, Bedser pitched up to be turned by Manjrekar into the hands of Jack Ikin at another short leg. And the next ball, Polly Umrigar found his stumps knocked back by a yorker.

The score read six for five. Captain Hazare and Dattu Phadkar did take them to 49 without further loss by the end of the second day.

Quality of mercy … droppeth as the gentle rain

It was then that the rain gods took pity on the struggling visitors and their tears were sent down as aid-drops. The third day was washed out completely and the fourth witnessed just 65 minutes of play, in which the Indians were bowled out for 98. Trueman and Bedser accounted for five wickets each, and Hutton wasted no time in enforcing follow-on.

The whole of August 19 was yet to be played. With the condition of the wicket being wet and sticky, and the dearth of confidence among the long suffering Indian batsmen, three hours of play seemed to be all that the home team needed for a 4-0 win. However, a steady drizzle prevented any action. And when at 3.00 p.m. a downpour lashed across the ground, play was called off.

It must have been with a combined sigh of immense relief that the Indians welcomed the intervention of the merciful weather. Not many of the spectators grudged their escape either, having been witness to their protracted plight on the tour.

Trueman finished the series with 29 wickets at 13.31, at a strike rate of one in every 24.7 balls.

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

India tour of England 2014

Jul 17, 2014  at London

India won by 95 runs

Photos

Gallery: India vs England 2nd Test at Lord's

Videos

Alastair Cook jokes about his bowling

10 things you need to know about Zaheer Abbas

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test at Colombo: Pride at stake for high-flying hosts

Mahela Jayawardene at SSC: A tale of 11 tons

Please help Graeme Pollock, cricket boards and franchises of the world

Cricket at Commonwealth Games and Olympics: Why not?

England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 Ishant Sharma MS Dhoni South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Mahela Jayawardene: Enjoyed century against South Africa

Kane Richardson, Ben Cutting clinical in Australia A’s 6-wicket win over South Africa A

Bangladesh recall Imrul Kayes for West Indies tour

India vs England 3rd Test at Southampton: Ravichandran Ashwin should play, feels Saqlain Mushtaq

JSCA to organise bowling camp for 17 short-listed candidates

10 things you need to know about Zaheer Abbas

Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2nd Test at Colombo: Pride at stake for high-flying hosts

Mahela Jayawardene at SSC: A tale of 11 tons

Please help Graeme Pollock, cricket boards and franchises of the world

Cricket at Commonwealth Games and Olympics: Why not?

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Mobile services market in India to be $19.2 billion in 2014: Gartner

Expecting a baby? Here’s an app that will help!

What is Rani Mukerji doing in Salman Khan’s Kick?

399 million users access Facebook every month only on their mobile phones, mobile ads account for 62 percent of overall ad revenues

Kane Richardson, Ben Cutting clinical in Australia A’s 6-wicket win over South Africa A

UN officials highlight the rising trend of pharmaceutical misuse in India

Kick quick movie review: Salman Khan gives his best performance in recent times

Mahela Jayawardene: Enjoyed century against South Africa

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here