Fourth Test Match

WEST INDIES v. INDIA

At Bridgetown, April 1, 2, 3, 4, 6. Drawn. This was the only Test in the series in which West Indies dictated terms throughout. There were two reasons for their inability to translate their superiority into victory. Firstly, Holder and Dowe, the Jamaican fast bowler making his Test debut, failed to exploit the second new ball in India's first innings. Secondly, West Indies committed two bad fielding errors when India, with only one wicket standing, were struggling to save the follow on.

Their confidence shaken by defeat by Barbados on the same ground, India went on the defensive from the start. Wadekar won the toss for the first time in the series and gave West Indies first innings, obviously to avoid batting on a fresh wicket. West Indies batted till the last hour of the second day and declared at 501 for five. On the first day, Lewis, this time promoted to open the innings, and Kanhai put on 166 for the second wicket. At the close West Indies were 224 for three. The Indian over-rate was almost unfairly low, but even then the slow scoring was due to accurate bowling. Support in the field, however, left a lot to be desired and at least 20 runs were given away during the day.

The second morning again produced restrained batting, but India did not break the overnight partnership of Davies and Sobers till half an hour after lunch by which time they had added 167. Davis had escaped being stumped when 44. Lloyd failed in an attempt to force the pace, but Sobers and Foster put on 107 in an unfinished sixth-wicket stand. Sobers spent almost four and a quarter hours over his hundred, but got his remaining 78 in even time. His entire innings included one 6 and nineteen boundaries, and it was his third century off the Indian bowling in successive innings.

India had fifty minutes to bat before the close, but bad light reduced it to twenty minutes. Gavaskar was out in this time, caught from a mistimed hook at a bumper from Dowe. Inept batting against the pace of Dowe, Holder and Sobers soon reduced India to 70 for six, but the familiar partnership of Sardesai and Solkar again put the innings on its feet. They added 186 for the seventh wicket and stayed together till the morning of the fourth day. Sardesai, who was last out for 150, always looked secure, but Solkar had many moments of uncertainty.

West Indies' cause weakened when Dowe and Holder failed to strike with the second new ball, shortly after tea. Then an easy slip catch from Solkar off Shepherd was floored by Davis. Still, India saved the follow-on with only one wicket standing. Bedi, the last man, edged Holder towards slip before he had scored, but Lewis moved across Kanhai's line of vision and caused him to miss it. Then an overexcited Dowe failed to make a clean pick up and throw with Bedi stranded half-way down the pitch. This was just before the follow on was averted. The last-wicket stand of 62 was a record for India and it put them within 154 of West Indies' monumental score.

West Indies, badly needing a win to enter the last Test level, went for runs and when they declared at 180 for six, they had about five and a quarter hours to bowl India out again. Sobers kept the innings going for one over on the last morning so that he could use the heavy roller. It had little effect on the pitch and India saved the match comfortably, thanks to a flawless not-out 117 by Gavaskar.

Struck on the hand by a bumper from Dowe, Mankad batted for some time with a fracture before surrendering. Sobers prised out Wadekar and Viswanath in rapid succession after lunch, but Jaisimha and Sardesai gave Gavaskar the support he needed to see India through the crisis.

© John Wisden & Co