Vijay Harare recalling India vs Australia 4th Test Adelaide 1947-48. Three Tests went and I had yet done nothing of note. I (Vijay Hazare) had done well in other matches and felt confident of acquitting myself creditably if only the weather gods would be kind enough. Although two up, Australia fielded their strongest side. Occupying the crease for the first two days of this six-day encounter, the hosts gave us a lot of leather hunting. By the end of the first day, they were on their way to a mammoth first-innings total and were 370 for only 3 wickets.
Don Bradman(that man again) reached another milestone in his, career by making his 37th double century when I bowled him. Australia finally totaled 674. A win for us was now totally out of question. It only remained to be seen whether we could save the Test or make a match of it. After a couple of early reverses, Vinoo Mankad and Lala Amarnath both played well and got into their forties. Both were out when well set and our scoreboard read 133 for 5.
I felt in, form on the true Adelaide wicket. The consistent Dattu Phadkar seemed to share the same feeling. Together we hoisted the 200 of our innings. I reached my first Test fifty and as I was batting well, was soon on the way to fit first Test Century. By the end of the third day’s play, I was still batting with 108 with Phadkar having made an unbeaten 77. We were still in the game as our scoreboard read 308 for only 5 wickets.
Both Phadkar and I were subjected to several short-pitched deliveries by Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller. We dealt with them effectively. Dattu Phadkar looked very courageous in his hooking and his strokes were perfectly timed. The next morning I was adjudged L.B.W. for 116. As it happens after the termination of a long stand, wickets tumbled in quick succession, and despite Phadkar’s desperate efforts our first innings ended quickly for just 381. It was an anticlimax to our earlier fight back.
Dattu Phadkar, however, had the satisfaction of registering his first Test hundred. We failed to save the follow-on and were sent in again. The wicket now four days old, was showing signs of wear. Ray Lindwall struck a quick blow with his Yorkers and fiery stuff and in his first spell claimed both Vinoo Mankad and the skipper. Once again I found myself wending my way to the wicket. I (Vijay Hazare) decided to stay at the wickets as long as I could because we had to save the Test. For the second time in the match, I found my true form and I was facing the opposing attack with all the confidence in the world. Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller had a go at me. Then came the wily stuff of the spinners.
Finally, Donald Bradman asked Sid Barnes to have a go. But this time I was on my guard. Finding that unorthodox tactics would not pay, the Australian Captain soon called his regular bowlers for a Fling. Wickets continued to fall at the other end till Hemu Adhikari at No. 8 took root. I went on and by the end of the day, I had once again scored a century. I was 102 not out and our total was 174 for 6. Two separate centuries in a Test! It seemed too good to be true. But I had achieved it. I became the first Indian to achieve this rare feat in a Test. Bradman had done it in the present series and I was next on the list. I never started with the intention of doing it. But as my side needed all the runs I could muster, I went on and on.
Amongst all this very flattering shower of words of appreciation and acclaim, the few uttered by one who was meeting me after a decade lead all the rest. I met my mentor Carrie Grimmett, who was the happiest man in Adelaide that January day. I had the pleasure and the privilege of being invited to a dinner at his place where we compared notes and reminisced a lot. For me, it was a sentimental occasion. I had all along wanted to live up to Grimmett’s expectations about me. I had done my best in Indian cricket and a little on the English tour.
Here on the Australian trip too, my performances in State matches were up to the mark. But in the Tests till the one at Adelaide, I had not come off. I could almost sense Grimmett’s disappointment as much as I felt my own is not coming up to mark in the Tests. I was all along like a favorite horse who fails to -win a race. Though not interested, in this game of kings, I could understand how Grimmett must have felt when he saw me remaining behind in the race for runs. Not that my shrewd and practical ‘Guru’ was a gambler himself. But this modest success of mine pleased him no end.
As a matter of coincidence, I may mention that Adelaide seems to favor twin Test centuries. The first to achieve it was Wally Hammond on his first tour. After the war, Denis Compton and Arther Morris did it in the same match for opposite sides. I came next but that was not the last time Adelaide inspired a cricketer. Almost 13 years later Kati of the West Indies joined us. Rather interesting!