- A COMMENTATOR
A Coin flew up an eager voice called Kamal Sajdeh straight of back and magisterial of men announced his decision to bat. Pratap Dundh made a grimace expressive of disappointment and turned to his men. Stubby grinning Rusi Pavri; Mihir Mehta big and fair, pushing at his spectacles with a solemn finger; Bajoria; padded and gloved – “Ai, where shall I stand” Screwvala plumps portly, Parsee, they followed him into the field. From under the big banyan tree strolled Deepak Malhotra keen faced and smiling gravely and Mohammed Laljee brown haired again with confidence. Mihir Mehta ran up cart wheeling his arm furiously; Pratap Dundh his mouth wide in expressive hope ambled at the wicket. Alas they were mere vain gestures; a travesty of an attack. On an easy wicket the Sixth score rose steadily. Deepak produced strokes after escapes and Laljee was sonorous in his on drive. Behind the wicket Vishwambhar Bajorialunged at the ball with a suspicious air but in actual fact allowed an astronomical proportion of byes. Twice or thrice the whole Seventh Standard rose in uproariously universal appeal. Kamal Sajdeh heedless of enraged looks turned his back expressively. The first wicket fell! Joy! And now in a swift spin of fortune’s wheel the Seventh gained two wickets in rapid succession. The Sajdeh brothers batted together on a blustery day of drizzle and darkling light. And the following day the Seventh attack settled itself peacefully into a groove prepared to bowl at these two terrifying batsmen all day. Then a ball from Mihir Mehta kicked; Keval Sajdeh scooped it up and Pratap Dundh cantered politely under the ball and held it. Mihir pushed at the bridge of his spectacles unemotionally. Jaipal mingled a series of agricultural cross bat smacking which would have earned him an egg elsewhere with a magnificent and creative stroke. A ball kicked and he hurled his bat at it in royal rage, and banished it from him with a splended hit. But Mihir Mehta patting his glasses speculatively ran riot amidst the kens and house carles of he Sixth tail and the innings culminated at 99.
Now came disaster amidst the ranks of the Seventh. Panday standing awkwardly at the crease, bat outstretched eighteen inches behind his right foot saw himself cleanly bowled by Kamal Sajdeh’s first ball. He looked back in grim appraisal at the off wicket lying cold and dead in its base and walked a lonely way in. David Joseph brawny and beaming walked in and there was anticipation in the ranks of the Trojans. But the smitter smote not; a well pitched delivery beat and bowled him and he walked slowly in. Prtap Dundh was looking for runs; he was the only batsman on view. Mihir Mehta was out for one; he walked back an emotion showing at last on his face. The processional ranks were added to by Pavri who went for a paltry single. Next came Gautam Merchant sullenly nervous. But he had drunk of charmed vials. Again and again it beat the bat and wicket; that horrid ball filled with such devil. But he stayed with Pratap till the close. Could the recovery be brought about, Pratap Dundh was the only man who could do it.
Next day Gautam’s amulet had lost its charm. Hardly had play been resumed than he hit down his own wicket and hurried back. Viswabhar Bajoria in a grey felt hat squatted over his wicket and swung at the ball in grim agitation and somehow survived. Pratap Dundh’s strokes flowed in an untroubled river over the field; he smiled and made strokes.
Next day Bajoria saw Dundh past the record. He made it with a pull but did not smile; he was frowning concentrating. Bajoria who played the man for 8 well earned runs was out at last; and Sadruddin Esmail made some strokes of rather questionable origin, with stiff arms and body before being dismissed. Moraes came in twirled his bat and did nothing but run Dundh’s runs, look very uncomfortable and gave Keval Sajdeh the impression that he was the nastiest little bowler ever born, a bowler not going to be hit for days and days. Next day Moraes was out bowled by the younger Sajdeh. Screwvala did not get beyond the stage of promise, for Dundh missed a rising ball from the Sixth captain and was bowled. For nearly two hours Dundh branded his personality upon this innings. 60 runs came quietly from his bat stylishly without a flaw and with deadly certainty. He was “above the rest in shape and gesture proudly eminent” The seventh were dismissed for 86 and now the Sixth batted. Jaipal smiled through his glasses and struck some mighty blows. Deepak keen and persevering angled for cuts. Laljee looked extremely permanent but when those three were dismissed Keval Sajdeh came in to ride a Valkyrie ride with a crackle of shots spitting from his bat. Kamal followed and sent a tremendous hit into the empyrean but thank the Lord he at least did not reach 20. Towards the end the tail enders resisted to heap coals of fire on the already heated Seventh Standard heads. But amidst loud triumphant yells from the Sixth we of the Seventh finally uprooted them for 103. And then? The Seventh batted without Panday and immediately a ball from Keval Sajdeh swung away. Pavri threw his bat at it a wretched stroke a stroke of extreme consternation and he was neatly caught by Heredia. David Joseph began with a four, a huge crack on the off. Next day David emote grandly at the first ball he got – 4! Yet again David’s bat flew back and yet again. Then the young eagle was struck down in full flight; he was ingloriously bowled by Keval. With the very next ball Mihir Mehta followed him out. Gautam blobbed himself in the score book for the second tie. Bajoria we hoped might save us with sheer guts. But he fell second ball and Saddrudin came in suffering agonies. He helped himself to two runs with aching patience then suffered the inevitable fate. Screwvala had gone and come early so that Moreas now was virtually the last an in as Roberts was playing cricket for the first time. Next day Moreas proceeded to offer six amiable catches to as amiable fielders while Pratap’s strokes flowed unhurriedly on. Moreas however defended stolidly and with all his heart head down. But the next day saw disaster. 4 runs were scored then Dundh slashed a leaping ball into his wicket. Roberts came in and went out in two balls and the Sixth leapt triumphant from the field. Moraes followed with his head down 7 not out. But however grim his defence however furious the swift cleansing wind of the boatmanship of Joseph and the Sajdehs the fact remains that the match will go down to posterity as ‘Dundh’s