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5 Memorable Test wins for India in West Indies


21.08.2019  Author: C.NAMASIVAYAM

India are set to play their 12th Test series in the West Indies when they take on the hosts in the first Test on Thursday, 22nd August 2019 at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

In the previous 11 Test series featuring these two teams in West Indies, the hosts have won 7 times while India have 4 series wins. From a total of 49 Test matches, India have won 7 while the West Indies have won 16 and the remaining 26 matches have ended in a draw.

Incidentally, the last time the West Indies won a home series against India was way back in 2002 and from the last 11 Test matches between these two countries, India have won 8 of those.

The recent records, with India having dominated West Indies also suggests that India will start as favorites in the upcoming Test series against the West Indies. However, the West Indies should look forward to using the home advantage to topple the formidable outfit of the visitors.

A tour of the West Indies always brings back pleasant memories for India as it was in this part of the world that two of India’s best batsmen, Sunil Gavaskar and Virat Kohli made their Test debuts. As we buildup to yet another exciting series, here is a look back at India's most famous wins in West Indies.

#5 Third Test at Gros Islet, St Lucia in 2016

The Test at Gros Islet was the last of the series and India had taken a 1-0 lead in the four-Test series, after they thrashed the Windies by an innings and 92 runs in the first Test at Antigua. West Indies saved the second Test through heroics from Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich and Jason Holder.

The Indians were desperate to win the third Test at St Lucia and seal the series. However, things did not go as planned as India were reduced to 126 for 5 after they were put in to bat.

Just when it looked like the Indians would surrender a precious lead, Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha joined together for the 6th wicket to add 213 runs as both batsmen scored their respective hundreds. Owing to their efforts, India reached a respectable 353 in the first innings.

When the whole of the third day’s play was washed out, a draw seemed to be imminent. West Indies started the fourth day with the score on 107/1 and on reaching 194/3 at lunch on the fourth day, it looked like the West Indies would save this Test and keep the series alive.

However, opting for the new ball saw the pacers wreaking havoc. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who went wicketless in his first 15 overs, picked his first wicket in his 16th over. He then bowled seven overs in a row to claim 5/10. His spell turned the match on its head as the hosts lost their last seven wickets for just 23 runs.

After India declared their second innings at 217 for 7, West Indies needed to bat for 81 overs to save the Test. But they crumbled for 108 in 48 overs to hand India a 237 run-victory. In just 104 overs, the Indian bowlers claimed 19 wickets to register an unexpected win and in the process, Virat Kohli became the first Indian captain to win two Test matches in the same series in the West Indies

#4 Fourth Test at Kingston in 2006

India and West Indies played a four-match Test series in 2006. Rahul Dravid captained India while Brian Lara was the captain for the West Indies. The first three matches of the series ended in a draw, which meant that the last match at Kingston was set to decide the winner of the series.

Indian captain Rahul Dravid won the toss and opted to bat but saw his team staring down the barrel at 91/6. It took a composed knock from Dravid (81) in company with Anil Kumble (45) that took India’s score to 200. West Indies never got going in their reply as Harbhajan Singh's 5-wicket haul skittled them out for 103.

India lost three quick wickets in the second innings but Rahul Dravid once again held the innings together with a patient 68. India set a difficult target of 269 on a deteriorating wicket. West Indies lost Chris Gayle, Darren Ganga, Brain Lara, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul before the score reached 50. A facile win was on the cards for India.

However, West Indies wicket-keeper Dinesh Ramdin took the game all the way to the wire. From 144 for 7, West Indies moved to 219 for 8, needing only 50 more runs to win. That was when Anil Kumble struck, with the wickets of Pedro Collins and Corey Collymore as Ramdin was left high and dry on 62. India won the low scoring match by a comfortable margin of 49 runs.

Anil Kumble’s 6/78 enabled India to win a Test series in the West Indies after a gap of 35 long years and this was only India’s second series win in West Indies.

#3 Second Test at Port of Spain in 1971

India for the first time enforced the follow- on against the West Indies in the first Test of the 1971 series at Kingston. However, they could not force a win due to an unbeaten 158 by Rohan Kanhaiin the second innings. For India, Dilip Sardesai scored a double hundred.

Going into the second Test, the Indians were in an upbeat mood after their good show in the first Test against the mighty West Indies who had Roy Fredericks, Rohan Kanhai, Gary Sobers and Clive Lloyd in their ranks. For India, a youngster from Bombay by the name of Sunil Manohar Gavaskar was making his debut.

West Indies batted first and were restricted to 214 by the Indian spin-trio of Bishan Singh Bedi, EAS Prasanna, and Venkataraghavan. Ashok Mankad and the debutant Sunil Gavaskar had a few overs to face before the end of first day’s play which they safely negotiated.

Gavaskar showed his promise on the second day when he scored 65 runs in his very first Test innings. Dilip Sardesai, the in-form batsman in that series, scored another century to take India to 352. For West Indies, relatively unknown off-spinner Jack Noreiga ended up with magic figures of 9/95. After opening bowler Grayson Shillingford took India’s first wicket, Noreiga cleaned up the remaining wickets.

In the second innings, big-hitting opening batsman Roy Fredericks blasted away to 80 before being run-out but the rest of the batsmen failed against off-spinner Venkataraghavan who took 5 wickets. Salim Durani got the prized wicket of Gary Sobers for a duck.

Chasing a fourth-innings target of 124 for a  historic win, the openers once again gave India a good start with a partnership of 74.  Fittingly,  Gavaskar, playing his first Test match, scored the winning runs for India. India won by seven wickets and Gavaskar’s contribution for the match was 65 and 67 not out.  The Port of Spain venue has since then become Gavaskar’s and India’s favorite venue and from the series, Gavaskar amassed 774 runs.

The win against West Indies in Gavaskar’s debut match was India’s first Test win against the formidable West Indies team. On the back of  Gavaskar’s record-breaking scores, India went one step ahead by holding on to a draw in the remaining three Test matches of that series and thereby winning the Test series for the first time in the Caribbean.

 

#2 Second Test at Port of Spain in 2002

The West Indies captain Carl Hooper won the toss and put India into bat. India lost both their openers with the score on 18. Sachin Tendulkar chose that occasion to equal Sir Don Bradman’s record of 29th Test centuries. With good support from Rahul Dravid (67) and VVS Laxman (69), Tendulkar took India to 339 from the first innings.

In reply, West Indies were comfortably placed at 179 for 3 before a middle-order collapse saw them conceding a lead of 94 runs in the first innings. West Indies hit back by claiming India’s first four second innings wickets cheaply.

The overall lead was exactly 150. Captain Saurav Gangly and VVS Laxman took India to safety with a fifth-wicket partnership of 149 runs. However, India lost their last six wickets for 13 runs to allow West Indies to come back into the game.

Chasing 313 for a win, the West Indies were on course on 157 for 2. But Ashish Nehra got rid of the two set batsmen Brian Lara (47) and Carl Hooper (22) within a space of eight balls. Chanderpaul was solid at one end as he added 73 runs with Chris Gayle. West Indies now needed 76 runs with 6 wickets in hand.

However, Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath pulled back things for India at the nick of the time to polish off the tail. In the end, it was too close for comfort for India as they scrapped through a win by a margin of 37 runs.

#1 Third Test at Port of Spain in 1976

In this Test match, India were set a fourth-innings target of 403 runs after centuries from Vivian Richards and Alvin Kallicharan for the West Indies in the first and second innings respectively. Interestingly enough, the West Indies team had three spinners in their ranks with only Bernard Julien and Michael Holding as the fast bowling options.

India’s chase started on a positive note when openers Sunil Gavaskar and Anshuman Gaekwad put on 69 runs for the first wicket. After Gaekwad’s dismissal, India had the presence of Mohinder Amarnath at No.3, who put on 108 runs for the second wicket with Gavaskar. Gavaskar scored his customary century at Port of Spain but got out soon after reaching his century.

The turning point of the match was the 159-run partnership for the third wicket between Mohinder Amarnath and Gundappa Viswanath.  Viswanath scored his fourth Test hundred but both Amarnath and Viswanath were run-out before India could reach the target. In the end, it was left to Brijesh Patel, who scored a quickfire 49 to take India home with 14 mandatory overs to spare.

Looking back, it was a record chase for India. having scored more than 400 runs in the fourth innings. It was only the second time a team had successfully chased down a target of over 400 in the fourth innings. In fact, until now, there have been only four occasions when a score of 400 and above was successfully chased down in the fourth innings of a Test match.