India v West Indies: a brief history
Part one: 1948-1975
1975-76 West Indies
As at the end of the tour, the Indian team trudged along the tarmac towards their home-bound aeroplane at Kingston's Norman Manley Airport, they resembled Napoleon's troops on the retreat from Moscow. They lost a hard-fought series 2-1, but their one win broke records after they scored 406 for 4 at Port-of-Spain, a after which Clive Lloyd vowed never to rely on spinners again. He was as good as his word, and in the series decider at Kingston, India were battered into submission. Injuries and illness meant that the entire squad was on the field at one time or another, and Bishan Bedi infamously declared India's second innings on 97 for 5 in protest at sustained short-pitched bowling as West Indies wrapped up the series.
Tests: West Indies 2 India 1 Drawn 1
It was a young and inexperienced West Indies team who toured India, but to their credit they lost only one of the six Tests and drew the remainder. The majority of their best players had opted to play World Series Cricket for Kerry Packer and co in Australia and the tour said much about the West Indies' strength in depth and India's gradual decline from power - despite the emergence of Kapil Dev. Indeed it was Kapil who led India to their series-winning victory in the fourth Test. After Norbert Phillip and Vanburn Holder had reduced India to 84 for 6, it was left to the teenaged Kapil - handicapped by a high fever - to score 26 of the 41 runs coming in at No. 8, as India edged home by three wickets.
Tests: West Indies 0 India 1 Drawn 5
1982-83 West Indies
After a trying series against Pakistan, India's long-standing captain Sunil Gavaskar was replaced by their dynamic all-rounder Kapil Dev - but it didn't make much difference in a series which lacked ferocity. After losing the thrilling first Test, where West Indies reached the required 172 in the last over of the match, India batted resiliently to earn a draw in the second. But the West Indies stormed back in the fourth with a crushing win, thanks to bowler-friendly conditions and a lively pitch. Only Mohinder Amarnath stood out for India's batsmen, hooking Roberts, Holding and Garner for sixes despite a blow on the mouth which caused his temporary retirement in the second innings. He stood alone, though, and West Indies blew them away by 10 wickets.
Tests: West Indies 2 India 0 Drawn 3
ODIs: West Indies 2 India 1
Despite an arduous itinerary the West Indies won the six-Test series three-nil, with little challenge to their authority. For the second consecutive series, Clive Lloyd was West Indies' main run getter, averaging 82.66 in the Tests; it was a tribute to his character that, despite his 39 years and a nagging back problem, he buckled down to play one long innings after another. And by the end of the series, India had played 29 consecutive Tests without a victory, their longest barren stretch. Malcolm Marshall almost single-handedly (92 runs and eight wickets) won the first Test for the West Indies, after Gordon Greenidge's brilliant 194. And despite Kapil Dev's 9 for 83 in the third Test, Michael Holding demolished the Indians with a vicious and match-winning spell of bowling to take the visitors 2-0 up in the series. India initially faired better in the fifth Test as the West Indies stumbled to 88 for 5 before Lloyd hit a magnificent unbeaten 161 and Marshall (6 for 37) yet again routed India for 90 to hand the West Indies a compelling series victory.
Tests: West Indies 3 India 0 Drawn 3
ODIs: West Indies 5 India 0
"The Test matches, regrettably, were received as enthusiastically as sandwiches filled with the leftovers of the Christmas turkey," so wrote Wisden in the account of this tour, such was the disastrous planning by the Indian board. After a thrilling first Test at Delhi, in which Viv Richards clobbered a run-a-ball hundred, the second at Nagpur was bizarrely cancelled at the 11th hour, in order to fit in two further ODIs in addition to the five already scheduled, and moved it to Mumbai. After draws in the second and third Tests, India stormed back in the fourth thanks to Narendra Hirwani, making an astonishing debut, who took eight wickets in both innings to match Bob Massie's feat of taking sixteen wickets on his début, against England at Lord's in 1972. Hirwani, a bespectacled 19-year-old, was indebted to the wicketkeeper Kiran More who stumped six batsmen in the match, five of them in the second innings, to lead India to a crushing 255-run win to level the series.
Tests: West Indies 1 India 1 Drawn 2
ODIs: West Indies 6 India 1
1988-89 West Indies
Even without playing to their full potential, West Indies were vastly superior to India in both the Test matches and the one-day internationals. After the first Test was washed out, the West Indies asserted their authority in the second, aided by poor Indian fielding. Ian Bishop bowled with admirable accuracy given his inexperience and, though the West Indies only gained a 56-run first-innings lead, Marshall blew India away in the second innings with 5 for 60. The most disappointing aspect of the series was India's inability to take advantage of a turning pitch in the third Test, at Port-of-Spain. Their failure and their rout underlined the decline of the art of spin bowling in a country where it abounded only a few years earlier. Of the three Indian spinners, Arshad Ayub was the most successful. On what was a spinner's pitch, Marshall again frightened India with 11 wickets in the match. It was Bishop and Courtney Walsh to the fore in the fourth and final Test at Jamaica, with Walsh following up first innings 6 for 62 with another four in the second. Walsh had another role to play earlier when Viv Richards, chuntering and fuming at his dismissal, provoked the partisan crowd into throwing bottles at the accused wicketkeeper More. It was left to Walsh and, later, Richards to plead for peace.
Tests: West Indies 3 India 0 Drawn 1
ODIs: West Indies 5 India 0
An outbreak of pneumonic plague in the western state of Gujarat raised doubts about whether this tour would take place at all. Eventually, the West Indians arrived a week late - and they left the preservation of their reputation very late too. Having gone one down in the First Test at Bombay and drawn at Nagpur, they waited until the last day of the tour to hit back and level the series. West Indies had not lost a Test series since their 1-0 defeat in New Zealand in March 1980; the turnaround at Mohali near Chandigarh, was a great escape for Courtney Walsh and his party on a tour when little went right. Without Richie Richardson (exhaustion) and Curtly Ambrose (shoulder), they lacked menace. India swept to a their tenth successive home Test victory at Bombay, when Javagal Srinath (4 for 48) helped dismiss the tourists 96 runs short. It was a match which swing both ways for four days, and only when Prabhakar dismissed Phil Simmons and Brian Lara in the first over did India finally scent victory. Carl Hooper and Jimmy Adams' brave rescue act in the second Test appeared to give the West Indies confidence and, on the final day in the third Test, they hit back to level the series and remain unbeaten since March 1980. A blistering 91 from Brian Lara set India 358 to win, but Kenny Benjamin blew them away for 114 with five wickets.
Tests: West Indies 1 India 1 Drawn 1
ODIs: India 4 West Indies 1
1996-97 West Indies
Both teams had just lost their preceding series - West Indies in Australia, India in South Africa - so both had plenty to play for on India's first tour of the Caribbean for eight years. In the event, they were thoroughly frustrated by the weather. The first Test was spoiled by rain on the last day and the final two Tests were so reduced that not even two innings could be completed. The two outstanding players in both teams - Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara - failed to live up to their star statuses. Both produced measured performances - Tendulkar hit 92 at Barbados and Lara a patient 103 - but more was expected of them. The pitches were lifeless and dull until both captains pleaded for one with a bit of spice - and got more than they bargained for at Barbados. Set just 120 to win, India capitulated for 81 with Ian Bishop, Curtly Ambrose and Franklyn Rose providing to give the West Indies a rather hollow series-victory.
Tests: West Indies 1 India 0 Drawn 4
ODIs: West Indies 3 India 1
2001-02 West Indies
India had realistic expectations that their eighth tour of the Caribbean would allow them to break their wretched overseas record. They possessed a well-balanced team: Sachin Tendulkar remained the premier batsman of the day, supported by Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. Although they took a lead with a hard-fought victory in the second Test, they didn't take into account either their own antipathy towards the faster, bouncier pitches they would encounter in Barbados and Jamaica, or West Indies' lingering resilience at home. The home side's limited bowling attack demolished India in the third at Barbados to level the series, and after a draw in the fourth the West Indies batsmen gained a 212-run first-innings lead in the fifth Test to set-up a comprehensive 155-run win, and a 2-1 series victory. Again, though, the two star batsmen - Tendulkar and Lara - failed to shine. Tendulkar's 117 in the second Test was more grafting than domineering; his 79 in the first and 86 in the last were more authentic. In between, he had three ducks (fourth, second and first balls) and an eight. Lara, hindered by immobility in his elbow, never gave a glimpse of the breathtaking form he had displayed in Sri Lanka.
Tests: West Indies 2 India 1 Drawn 2
ODIs: India 2 West Indies 1
The West Indies decline in the 1990s accelerated into an alarming freefall and they were fortunate to only lose the series 2-0. They remained stuck in a vicious circle; they were diffident and lacklustre on the field; their batsmen threw away starts and their bowlers never believed they could get wickets. Following-on in the first Test at Mumbai, they capitulated to Harbhajan Singh (7 for 48) after Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid both hit blistering hundreds. Singh was at it again in the second at Chennai, taking 5 for 30 to reduce West Indies to a paltry 167. They never recovered; despite a gutsy 78 from Ramnaresh Sarwan in their second innings, they fell to a convincing eight-wicket defeat. However, the two massive losses sparked something in Carl Hooper's men who, in the third Test at Kolkata, were a team rejuvenated. As Wisden noted, "the batsmen applied themselves, the bowlers bent their backs, the fielders threw themselves around, and actually believed it mattered." Three batsmen made hundreds, leading the visitors to 497 - their highest score of the series by some margin. Though India soon matched it in their second innings, and in doing so closing the game out, it at least demonstrated the West Indies had the talent, if not the sustained determination, to compete on the subcontinent.
Tests: India 2 West Indies 0 Drawn 1
ODIs: West Indies 4 India 3
2006 West Indies
India, sans Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Zaheer Khan, came agonisingly close to victory in the first Test in Antigua, before West Indies' last-wicket pair played out 25 balls to escape with a draw. The second Test played out in similar fashion, but India fell three wickets short. Roles were reversed in St Kitts where the hosts refused to enforce the follow-on, but couldn't trouble India's strong line-up in the second innings. It all set up the tone for a classic final Test in Kingston, which swayed one way and the other before India wrenched victory. Rahul Dravid, at the peak of his powers, played out of his skin on a track as treacherous as any seen in the 2000s. "Without his two masterful efforts the result would probably have been reversed," Wisden reported later. "If his 81 on the first day was executed with a shield - he dodged the dangerous deliveries and kept out the straight ones - his second-innings 68 was played with a sword." India rode on the captain's masterclasses, and some inspired bowling from Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble, to seal their first series win in the Caribbean in 35 years. It was more than little solace for a side that had slumped to a 4-1 drubbing in the ODIs that preceded the real thing.
Tests: India 1 West Indies 0 Drawn 3
ODIs: West Indies 4 India 1
2006-07 in India
This one-day international tour was hastily organised after India called off their tour of New Zealand to gear up for the World Cup. It was quaint planning for West Indies to charge off to the other side of the world just as the Caribbean stadiums were being readied for action. Still smarting from a 4-0 thrashing in South Africa, India found their feet in front of the packed stadiums back home. However, there was no real pattern to the series. With the games spread across four zones, the pitches were strikingly different. The teams went from a run-glut at sunny Nagpur to slow torture at muggy Cuttack. The last two surfaces were pancake-flat, but both games featured collapses brought on by reckless batting. Throughout the series old hands came to the fore: Sourav Ganguly returned, Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar produced a stunner apiece, while Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Rahul Dravid chugged along. Unfortunately, the series was remembered for all the wrong reasons due to the match-fixing allegations against Marlon Samuels. The Jamaican was later banned for two years.
ODIs India 3 West Indies 1
2009 in West Indies
Both teams entered the four-match ODI series after contrasting campaigns in the World Twenty20 in England. India, fatigued by the IPL, stumbled out of the Super Eights while West Indies did well to reach the semi-finals. India were without Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan for the West Indies tour and it gave opportunities to test their bench strength. India prevailed in a high-scoring thriller in the first match in Jamaica, which produced 658 runs. West Indies hit back strongly in the second game, keeping India to 188. It was a bizarre looking scorecard, with MS Dhoni scoring 95 in an otherwise sorry performance. Runako Morton sparkled with an unbeaten 85. The third game was another low-scorer, but rain interruptions and Duckworth-Lewis took the game to a last-over finish. India needed 11 as MS Dhoni held his nerve and took his team through to a series lead, which turned into a series win after the final game was washed out.
ODIs India 2 West Indies 1 No Result 1
2011 in West Indies
The timing of the tour didn't allow India time to recuperate after an exhausting World Cup, followed by a stretched IPL. Seniors like Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag opted out so the team that landed in the West Indies included a few fresh faces. West Indies were without Chris Gayle from the start due to his dispute with the board. Nevertheless, India still looked formidable with Test specialists VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid. Sabina Park witnessed yet another masterclass from Dravid on a difficult pitch as India took a 1-0 lead. Rain halted India's charge in Barbados. India made a bold declaration to bring the Test to life, and Darren Bravo sucked the life right out of it with an innings of application and resolve. India set West Indies 281 to get in 83 overs, Ishant Sharma helped them take early wickets, but Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Carlton Baugh thwarted India for 322 deliveries between them. Oddly, India stopped short of making it a 2-0 finish in the third Test in Dominica. India needed 86 off 90 balls but controversially called it off. Their coach Duncan Fletcher defended the move saying batting was getting more difficult on the fifth day pitch. West Indies discovered a solid middle-order batsman in Kirk Edwards, who made a century on debut in Dominica. India took a 3-0 lead in the one-day series that preceded the Tests, but took their foot off the pedal in the final two games.
Tests: India 1 West Indies 0 Drawn 1
ODIs: India 3 West Indies 2
T20: India 1 West Indies 0