The conditions at Adelaide were ideal for batting, and when Bradman won the toss the hapless Indians were condemned to a leather hunt. Morris, though, fell early but Barnes and Bradman settled down for the better part of the day. The Don completely dominated the bowling, scoring at a very rapid rate. He raised his third consecutive hundred. Barnes followed suit, and when the partnership was worth 236, he was leg-before-wicket to the hard working Mankad for 112. Bradman was now unstoppable and eclipsed Hassett in a stand of 105. He raced to his 10th, and final, Test double century (in addition to the two triple-tons), yet another landmark reached against this touring Indian side. Immediately thereafter, with the shadows lengthening, The Don was bowled by Hazare for 201. Bradman had been at the wicket for a shade over four-and-a-half hours, scorching the turf with 21 hits to the fence and one over it, in that dazzling 296-ball exhibition.
Hassett and Miller completed their own century stand on the second day. Hassett brought up his hundred, but Miller was out for 67. Their partnership was worth 142. With the lower order for support, Hassett piled on the misery for the Indians. He ran out of partners two short of what would have been the only double century in his coveted bag of 10 three-figure Test innings. He had concentrated hard for five hours and forty minutes, having faced 305 deliveries and struck 16 boundaries. Australia were all out for 674, the highest Test total ever achieved on their turf.
In the little time that remained, Miller, in a furious burst, castled Sarwate, and meted out the same fate first ball to the wicketkeeper-nightwatchman Probir Sen. The visitors went to bed uneasily, and dog-tired, at 6 for two. Next morning Mankad and Amarnath offered stout resistance. The skipper was in a mood to counter-attack, smashing 46 in 47 balls with 5 fours before Bradman caught him off Johnson. The resolute Mankad was joined by Hazare, who went on to have a memorable match. They added another 55 before Mankad finally fell a run short of fifty. When the fifth wicket went down at 133, Phadkar walked in and the Australian bowling was tested for the first time in the series.
Hazare and Phadkar settled down to a fine partnership. Hazare brought up his century and by close of play they had taken the score to 299 for five. He was out for 116 the next morning, the stand worth 188 by then. Phadkar raised his own hundred, and went on to score 123. India were bowled out for 381, and forced to follow-on.
This time Lindwall was devastating. Off the seventh ball of his first over he had Mankad snapped up by Tallon for a duck. His next delivery crashed into Amarnath’s stumps. For the second time in the match India’s no. 3 batsman had been bowled first-ball. Hazare was back at the crease with the scoreboard reading zero for two. He played an exquisite innings in adversity. Sarwate did not last long, but Gul Mohammad helped him in a stand of 66. It was, however, when Hemu Adhikari joined Hazare at 139 for six, that the innings gained momentum. Hazare went on complete a superb century, becoming the first Indian to score a hundred in each innings of a Test match. He was later emulated by Sunil Gavaskar, who achieved the feat on a record three occasions.
Keith Miller wrote in Cricket Crossfire about an incident during Hazare’s splendid display: “Looking back I suppose it was inevitable that The Don and I should have clashed. Our temperaments were so different. I recall a Test against India at Adelaide in 1947-8 when Hazare made a hundred in each innings. Hazare, a very good on-side player, repeatedly turned me off the stumps and hit me behind square-leg. It was a boiling-hot day and the wicket was slow. Bradman had put only three men on the on-side – mid on, square leg and fine leg. I said to Don, ‘What about another man between square and fine leg?’ Now at either side of the wicket at the Adelaide ground (shaped like ‘thin’ Oval) is a very short boundary, but Bradman refused to even consider it. I had been bowling flat out, giving it everything I had, and Bradman’s attitude riled me. So I finished the over with a couple of off-spinners. I felt through for a while. Bradman promptly took me off. As I see it, it is an insult to a bowler when he is giving his best to receive no co-operation from his captain. In fairness to Bradman, this was not usual. He could be considerate to bowlers, and more often than not he was. The trouble was that he got occasional bees in his bonnet and put fielders where he wanted them and not where the bowler did.” Sometimes in the heat of battle, not only do opponents clash, but also teammates. Personality clashes are not uncommon. The rebel in Miller came to the fore every now and then.
Hazare was going along serenely when he was bowled by Lindwall for 145. Hemu Adhikari scored a dogged fifty but Lindwall made short work of the Indian batting. They were dismissed for 277. Lindwall scalped seven for 38 as Australia triumphed by an innings and 16 runs. Bradman’s side clinched yet another series hands down.
(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Don’s Century’, published by Sporting Links, ISBN 978-81-901668-5-0.
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