First Test Match


At Bombay, December 1, 2, 3, 5, 6. Drawn. This was the first Test of the 22 played in Bombay to be curtailed by rain, the accumulated effects of a series of storms during the previous weeks delaying the start by just under four hours. But loss of time to the weather was in no way responsible for the match being drawn. Neither attack was sufficiently penetrative, and only one batsman on each side stood out in the first innings- Gavaskar for India and Kallicharran for West Indies.

Kallicharran was badly off the mark in electing to field. He expected the pitch, which had suffered from seepage, to assist his pace bowlers, but the expected help was not forthcoming. Clarke, the quickest of the three West Indies pace bowlers, held some menace for his first three overs but thereafter the pitch was tranquil. The one wicket captured on the shortened first day was with a yorker.

The Indian innings obtained its substance as well as its momentum from Gavaskar, who gave his most aggressive display ever in a Test match. When he reached his double-century in just over six hours, having hit two 6s and 27 4s, the total was 318. Gavaskar took half an hour to score his 5 remaining runs, but that was due to his concentration and rhythm being broken by a long stoppage brought about by a section of the crowd invading the field to congratulate him.

India's score of 424 included only two other contributions of over 50, from Chauhan and Viswanath. Chauhan's 52 was interrupted by injury when he had made only 10. Resuming on the second day at 217 for three, he took nearly three hours adding 42 and his slowness negated much of Gavaskar's enterprise. Viswanath began indifferently, but played in fine style during the latter part of his innings. Nor was there any sense of urgency in India's batting when their innings continued on the third day. Only Kapil Dev showed any inclination to attack and, in the last two hours of their innings, India added only 73 runs.

The exuberance of their openers led to West Indies being 13 for two. The left-handers, Kallicharran and Gomes, rallied them with a stand of 109 from 32 overs. Kallicharran gave two difficult chances, at 47 and 53, but both made their runs with grace and ease. Then, during one of his few good spells, Chandrasekhar dismissed Gomes and Bacchus in quick succession and West Indies, with just under fifty minutes left on the third day, were 150 for four. This fresh crisis was dispelled even before the end of the third day. Kallicharran was in full flow and he received good support from Murray, who concentrated on defence. Their partnership endured until fifty minutes after lunch on the fourth day, having put on 167. Kapil Dev made the breakthrough, claiming Kallicharran lbw.

Kallicharran's polished 187, his best Test score, took him six hours thirty-seven minutes and included 25 4s. His departure took away the sparkle from the batting, but by no means led to a reversal in West Indies' fortunes. They lost only two more wickets before the close, Murray (84) falling lbw to a ball from Chandrasekhar that kept low, and Phillip caught on the mid-wicket boundary after West Indies had secured a lead. Parry, coming in on Kallicharran's dismissal, batted sensibly, although quietly, for his 55. On the last morning, West Indies sought quick runs, paying no regard to the loss of wickets, and added 41 in as many minutes.

Interest in India's second innings centred round the prospect of Gavaskar scoring his fourth century in successive Test innings (he had scored one in each innings of the last Test against Pakistan, a fortnight earlier) and becoming the first batsman in history to score a double-century and a century in a Test match for the second time. Having been on the field for all but two and a quarter hours of the match so far, Gavaskar suffered from periodic lapses of concentration. However, he scored a delightful 73 off 131 balls before being caught behind off Clarke.

Parry and Jumadeen did most of the bowling in this innings and, in comparison with India's spinners, extracted wider and quicker turn from a slow pitch. Parry, the off-spinner, was the more outstanding in this respect and showed that with experience and improved control, he had the potential to become a match-winning bowler.

© John Wisden & Co