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The first ever Tied Test -- Fingleton reports

The late Jack Fingleton was one of the most widely admired contributors to the sports pages of The Hindu for three decades. During the first England-Australia series immediately after the end of the Second World War, Fingleton contacted Sir Ra ghunath Paranjpye, then the Indian High Commissioner in Canberra, and enquired if The Hindu would be interested in carrying his reports of the Tests. The Editor of the paper immediately cabled Fingleton to say yes. And there began a long assoc iation. The following are excerpts from Fingleton's report of the first ever Tied Test in Brisbane in December 1960.

While the West Indian skipper Frank Worrell surveys the scene from one end, Conrad Hunte and Rohan Kanhai jump for joy at the other after Joe Solomon's throw from the on side hits the stumps to leave the Australian lan Meckiff yards out. This dismissal saw the Brisbane Test ending in a tie.

BRISBANE, Dec. 14. In the greatest Test match in the history of cricket, Australia and West Indies today drew the first Test — 737 runs in all. Never have such fantastic scenes been witnessed as here in the last over by Hall when three Australian wickets fell. At ten minutes to 6, with nine runs wanted by Australia for victory and with four wickets left, Davidson, hero with Benaud of a remarkable fight-back against the clock, was thrown out by Solomon.

Grout met Davidson half-way to the wicket. The clock showed six minutes to 6. Grout went helter-skelter for a run on the seventh ball from Sobers and made it amid pandemonium. Sobers gave his last ball against Benaud everything he had. He literally pelted it into the pitch to keep Benaud at the other end so that Hall could bowl the last over against Grout. And Benaud, avid to get a single to keep the strike, could do nothing about it.

Hall the magnificent fast bowler, who had bowled his heart out in one morning to give the West Indians their great chance, slowly rolled up his sleeves and prepared to give the last over everything he had. He roared it in at Grout who could not get his bat to it. The ball hit him in the mid-riff and he doubled up, but Benaud had sprinted off. Grout recovered with the West Indians dazed and they got a single with the ball almost in the block hole. But the very next ball, Benaud was caught behind by Alexander.

Hall had six balls to go. Meckiff hit the next in the middle of the bat. The next one he missed, and the ball went through to the wicket-keeper.

Grout called and they ran the cheekiest of singles. Alexander pounced on the ball, threw it at the stumps to Meckiff's end and missed. Meckiff would have been out by yards.

Australia needed four runs with four balls to go. Then happened something almost unbelievable.

Grout spooned Hall's next ball high to the leg. The West Indians ran at the catch from all directions but Kanhai positioned himself perfectly under it. And then came Hall to take the catch over Kanhai's head — and dropped it! The poor West Indians stood dumbfounded. The Australians got one run and needed three to win. Meckiff made a desperate swish off the next ball and connected.

The ball flew to the leg-boundary and the crowd roared Australia had won! But the lithe Hunte chased the ball like an Olympic sprinter, stopped it on the fence and with a miraculous throw from 120 yards away had it back like a bullet to Alexander.

Alexander took it and threw himself at the stumps. The batsmen were running for three — the winning run. Grout dived at the crease but Alexander beat him. Up went the umpire's finger. Out went Grout, covered in dust, and in came Kline who had been abed with tonsillitis. The clock showed three minutes after 6.

Two balls were left. Kline pushed his first ball to the mid-wicket and he and Meckiff scampered off madly. Solomon dashed in, picked up cleanly and threw down the stumps and the game was over — the greatest Test ever surely and the first in history to finish (and I quote Wisden's) in a tie.

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