Mankading India vs Australia

Mankading Controversy: When India Toured Australia For First Time

The first Indian tour to Australia, 1947-48

After independence on 15 August 1947, the Indian cricket team had its first international series in Australia on that December. The tour included five test matches and a number of first-class fixtures.

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Lala Amarnath led the Indian team in this tour in absence of Vijay Merchant. Vinoo Mankad featured in the touring squad as an all-rounder from Gujarat. He was an opening batsman and a slow left arm orthodox bowler.

Mankad has been a star cricketer in the history of Indian cricket. In fact, he along with Pankaj Roy had an opening partnership of 413 runs in the year 1956. It was a world record that stood for 52 years. He scored a total 11591 runs in his first-class career. Mankad was equally successful with the ball in hand. He took 162 wickets from 44 test matches.

But, this particular tour had his name established permanently as a mode of dismissal in the sport.

India vs Australian XI, Nov 1947

India played 9 first-class matches in addition to the test series. They won two of these, while losing on three occasions. The rest games ended up as drawn.

These first-class games helped the touring team warm up ahead of the actual test series. One of the matches took place on 14-18 November at Sydney. An Australian XI, featuring the test cricketers of the host country faced India on a four-day encounter. In fact, Sir Donald Bradman led this side himself.

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Bradman instantly notified his appearance with a daunting innings of 172 in the first innings. However, two gritty fifties from Gogumal Kishenchand did not let India lose its plot ever in the game. In fact, India left a target of 251 for the opponents on the last 150 minutes of the final day.

The cracks from the footmarks turned lethal for the Australian batting lineup in the fourth innings. Mankad utilized the opporunity brilliantly as he picked up 8 wickets including that of Bradman. The hosts tried to chase the target in a hurry. However, they were dismissed for 203 all out within 30 overs. India won the match by 47 runs. Mankad finished with a bowling figure of 8/84 in that innings.

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The first incident

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Apart from the lethal bowling, Mankad also inflicted the run out of Aussie opener Bill Brown in this innings. In fact, Bill was continuously backing up the striker from the non-strike end. Mankad offered him a first warning. But, he continued doing so for a while.

Finally, Mankad paused before releasing a delivery and had the stumps uprooted. Brown had to return to the pavilion eventually. But, he was visibly unhappy with the way of his dismissal.

Ultimately, India won the game thanks to the heroics of Mankad.

Repeated Offender

The matter did not finish with the incident in that first-class game. In fact, Brown continued his habit of leaving the crease before the release of the ball in the first test between India and Australia at Brisbane.

Once again, Mankad had to warn him. This led the Australian media to start discussing about the matter seriously. In fact, a few newspapers termed it as a banter between the two.

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Australia won this test by an innings and 226 runs. Bradman scored unbeaten 185 in the first innings. On the other hand, India got wrapped inside 58 and 98 in two innings.

2nd Test, India vs Australia, Sydney

The controversy saw its peak during the second test of the tour. The teams met at Sydney amidst heavy rainfall affecting the game often. The Australian pace attack used the dampness of the ground to rattle the Indians. India could made only 188 in the first innings. But, they gave it back to the hosts in the next innings.

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Vijay Hazare (4/29) and debutant Dattu Phadkar (3/14) had Australia dismantled for 107 all out. Matters worsened for batsmen as Australia had India struggling for 61/7 in the third innings. However, no play on the final day of the test forced the game to end in a draw.

Mankad versus Brown

But, the highlight of this test belonged to Mankad and Brown once again. Brown continued his habit of backing up just like the early instances on that series. Likewise, this led Mankad to catch him short of his crease before releasing his delivery. Hence, Mankad plucked the bails off once again to run him out. The incident happened during the second innings of the test. In fact, Brown was the first wicket to fall before Australia collapsed to 107 all out.

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It was the first instance of such a dismissal in international cricket. As a result, the Australian media and fans launched their arrows of criticism on Mankad instantly. They brought up the matter of sportsmanship to shame Mankad for the act.

However, the Australian skipper and legendary batsman Sir Donald Bradman went on to defend the act. He later wrote on his autobiogaphy, “For the life of me, I can’t understand why the press questioned his sportsmanship. The laws of cricket make it quite clear that the non-striker must keep within his ground until the ball has been delivered. If not, why is the provision there which enables the bowler to run him out? By backing up too far or too early, the non-striker is very obviously gaining an unfair advantage.”.

The term ‘Mankading’

Vinoo Mankad introduced the act of running the non-striker out without completing a delivery in international cricket for the first time. Hence, the mode of dismissal got its new name as ‘Mankading’, after the surname of the Indian cricketer.

In fact, as a left-arm round-the-wicket slow orthodox spinner, Mankad indeed exploited the opportunity to break the stumps, in order to teach Brown a lesson. Also, Brown was adament to refrain despite warnings from Mankad. Hence, it would be really one-sided to call Mankad as a violator of the spirit of the game.

Aftermath

The Indian team lost the test series by a margin of 0-4. Bradman alone scored 715 runs in that series. Few of the Indian batsmen also got runs in regular intervals. However, the lack of collective effort played a big role in this defeat.

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Despite the criticism, Mankad returned from this tour as one of the assests for India. He picked up 61 first-class wickets in the tour. Wisden hailed him as the best all-rounder of his generation following this trip.

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Conclusion

A test battle between India and Australia always produces the best cricket experience. It brings out the best out of the players in ground. Also, it brings out a package of banters between the two sides. Albeit some of those are really controversial, it surpluses the intensity of the rivalry.

The upcoming tour of India in Australia already made the headlines a couple of times. The selection of the Indian team produced fair bit of controversy. For instance, veteran Indian batsman Rohit Sharma was not included in the squad owing to an injury, But, he led his IPL team from the front to title victory at the same time. He later made it to the test side.

On the other hand, omission of in-form Suryakumar Yadav also spiced up debates. Later, captain Virat Kohli earned paternity leave during the final three test matches of this tour. This led to another debate on the social media on the topic of national duty.

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The Australian team lost its previous home test series to India decisively by a margin of 1-2. Unlike then, they can afford the service of Steve Smith and David Warner this time. Hence, the Australian team led by Tim Paine would like to avenge the loss last time.

To conclude, one may assume that things would heat up in this tour too!

Cover Image Courtesy: Australia v India, Sydney 2007 (2142987914) by Vikas D. Nambiar, Flickr is licensed under CC BY SA 2.0 / Modified from Original

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