Third Test Match


Sobers won the toss for the third time, but West Indies progressed hesitantly against high-class spin bowling by India, who did not appear to miss the injured Prasanna. West Indies made 231 for six on the first day when only two batsmen looked capable of dominating the bowling. One was Kanhai, but he was unable to carry his assault beyond forty-five minutes, in which he made 25 runs. Lloyd's innings was developing into his best of the series when, with 60 to his name, he and Sobers collided in the middle of the pitch while taking a rapid second run. The collision at high speed between two big men threw Lloyd so far off course that he could not regain his crease. Badly dazed, Lloyd had to be assisted off the field and Sobers, who sustained an injury in the neck, held on for almost half an hour but was caught at slip from the last ball of the day. Two more wickets fell cheaply on the second morning, but the Jamaican wicket-keeper, Lewis, playing in his first Test, and Gibbs staged a dour, two-hour partnership which added 84 for the ninth wicket. Gibbs' 25 was his highest Test score and Lewis was 81 not out when the West Indies innings ended at 363, about half an hour before tea.

India's innings, launched with an opening stand of 72, beat a fairly healthy pulse throughout. Lasting almost as long as West Indies', it finished 13 runs in excess of their total. Gavaskar batted with supreme ease for his 116, which took four hours, twenty-five minutes, but he had four lives, the first two in his initial 35 runs. He and Viswanath, another promising youngster who had not played in the earlier Tests because of injury, put on 112 for the third wicket. The second new ball enabled West Indies to bring about a minor collapse and India had five down for 246. Solkar was run out at 278 on the fourth morning. Again Sardesai took control and he and Abid Ali put on 61 for the seventh wicket before Sardesai was run out by a brilliant piece of fielding by Lloyd.

West Indies finished the fourth day at 63 for the loss of only one wicket, that of Fredericks, but on the last day they got into trouble as soon as they tried to force the pace. Carew holed out at long on and Bedi drifted one away to induce a fatal snick by Lloyd. Sobers groped forward to Durani within minutes of his arrival and when the appeal for a bat-and-pad catch at short-leg was turned down, Durani asked a second time. When he was rejected he threw down the ball in an unseemly gesture of anger and despair. Thereafter Sobers batted with masterly confidence and aggression to score his first century of the series. Davis, if less brilliant, collected runs fluently on a wicket which was still completely in the batsmen's favour. He, too, got into three figures and after an unbroken partnership of 170, Sobers made a courtesy declaration at tea. In the ninety minutes remaining the Indians made 123 without loss.

© John Wisden & Co