Second Test Match


At Bangalore, December 15, 16, 17, 19, 20. Drawn. An absorbing match in which fortunes swayed from day to day, this Test would doubtless have come to a fitting climax had circumstances quite unrelated to cricket not forced the last day's play to be abandoned. The cause of the abrupt finish was the outbreak of civil unrest in the city, set off by the expulsion from parliament and arrest of former Indian Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi.

West Indies, winning the toss again, started with an opening stand of 97 between Bacchus and Williams and continued to flourish until tea, when they were 229 for two. Bacchus batted delightfully for 96, just missing his century. Gomes (51) and Kallicharran (71) kept up the momentum. Gomes was ultimately deceived by Chandrasekhar's slower ball and then the new ball, taken twenty-five minutes before the close, accounted for Murray and Kallicharran. West Indies had slumped to 284 for five, but they recovered quite easily the next day thanks to Shivnarine - a strong off-side player - Parry and Phillip.

India had the rude shock of losing Gavaskar to the very first ball of the innings. But there followed a partnership of 170 between Gaekwad and Vengsarkar which not only softened the early blow but cushioned those that Clarke was to deal later with the second new ball. India, at one stage, were 318 for eight and the decline would have been more rapid but for a fighting 70 by Viswanath. Then Bedi, protected from bumpers, helped Ghavri put on 51 for the ninth wicket and India finished within close distance of the big West Indies' score.

The damage done by Clarke (five for 126) was not confined to the Indian innings. His boot spikes roughed up an area in line with the left-hander's off-stump and this worn patch was of disadvantage to West Indies, their two main batsmen being left-handers. Yet although West Indies did struggle in their second innings, it was not entirely due to the offending spot. The problems were set by the pace bowlers at the opposite end. Wickets fell steadily, but Gomes played with sound technique to cope with the spinners at the danger end. Batting for nearly four and a half hours for 82, he eventually fell to a vicious ball that turned and reared to compel a catch to short leg. Gomes' main ally was Parry, who helped him put on 78 for the sixth wicket.

At the end of the fourth day, West Indies, with only two wickets in hand, were 266 ahead. Had play gone on the next day, it would have been with a second new ball that had been used for only five overs. It was a situation that promised a gripping last day's cricket.

© John Wisden & Co