Second Test Match

WEST INDIES v. INDIA

At Port-of-Spain, March 6, 7, 9, 10. India won by seven wickets, with a day to spare. It was India's first win in 25 Tests between the two countries. Undoubtedly, luck held with India all the way, but this cannot detract from the high quality of the batting of Gavaskar and Sardesai and outstanding bowling by their four spinners. Spin bowlers dominated the match. For the West Indies, Noreiga, the 35-year-old off-spinner, captured nine wickets for 95 runs in India's first innings.

Despite the fact that the pitch was tailor-made for spinners, winning the toss was very much a mixed blessing for, on the first day, the ball rose awkwardly almost as often as it kept low. In fact, the first ball of the match was a shooter. It bowled Fredericks off his toe and, at one stage, West Indies were 62 for four. Sobers, trying desperately to plunder runs before the innings petered out, was bowled at 108, trying to sweep. Charlie Davis, playing his first Test at home, scored 71 not out and enabled West Indies to reach a respectable score. Only the two fast bowlers, Holder and Shillingford, afforded any assistance while Davis defied the Indian spinners.

When India batted, the first stroke of luck they enjoyed was the dropping of Gavaskar, then only 12, by Sobers, at slip, off Holder. He and Mankad put on 68 runs for the first wicket. Gavaskar then continued to play the role of anchor man while Sardesai asserted himself. The pair added 96 runs for the third wicket. Sardesai scored another century, batting just as commandingly as in the first Test. Gavaskar and Wadekar were out to successive balls, but Sardesai found another stubborn partner in Solkar. Their stand of 114 for the fifth wicket enabled India to lead by 138 runs. Solkar, in the early stages of this partnership, was lucky to be twice dropped off Sobers, then bowling an extremely deadly spell of wrist spinners.

India's big lead notwithstanding, the initiative lay with the West Indies at the end of the third day. They had gone 12 runs ahead with only one second-innings wicket lost. An unfortunate accident, before the start of the fourth day's play, again turned the wheel of fortune. Davis, one of the overnight not-outs, was struck over the eye while practising in the nets, and he had to go to hospital to have the wound stitched. By the time he returned, Fredericks (through a suicidal run out), Sobers, Lloyd and Camacho were all out for the addition of only 19 runs to the overnight total. Undaunted, Davis again batted for the remainder of the innings, scoring 74.

India had about eight hours to get the 124 runs they needed to win, but they took no chances and with Gavaskar in full cry, completed their task on the fourth day.

© John Wisden & Co