Fifth Test Match


Batsmen enjoyed themselves on a true, easy-paced pitch to such an extent that six of them scored centuries, two others were out in the nineties and 1,254 runs were scored for 25 wickets. In the circumstances, it was a difficult initiation to Test cricket for the two new players introduced, one by each team - Davis, a fast bowler from St. Vincent, and Sivaramakrishnan, a leg-spinner who became the youngest Indian Test cricketer at the age of seventeen years and 118 days.

The adverse weather which had affected each preceding Test again attended the first day of this one, bad light and rain causing the loss of two hours. An aggressive 94 by Vengsarkar led India to 188 for four at the end of it and two innings of differing moods by Shastri and Kapil Dev, who added 156 for the fifth wicket, ensured India of a big first-innings total. Shastri, strong off his legs and relying mainly on timing and deflections, just passed his century in five and a quarter hours before being stumped down the leg side off Gomes. Kapil Dev, who dominated the stand with powerful hitting, took two and a half hours to score 98.

By the time India were all out in the closing stages of the second day, a commanding first-innings total had been achieved. However, for the remainder of that day and almost right through the next, Greenidge and Haynes made sure West Indies would face no embarrassment with a new first-wicket record against all countries of 296. Greenidge's 154 was his first century in Tests since 1977 and Haynes's his first since 1980. A stiff neck restricted Kapil Dev to four overs on the third day, and India did not claim a wicket until the final five minutes when Yashpal, given the new ball in his captain's absence, had Haynes caught at long-leg after an innings lasting six hours, ten minutes and including one 6 and ten 4s. As soon as Greenidge left the ground, having hit a 6 and fourteen 4s, he flew to his native Barbados to be with his ailing two-year-old daughter, who died two days after the match ended.

Richards, the local hero, resumed in Greenidge's place but his was the first of four wickets to fall for 31 runs to the swing of Kapil Dev and Madan Lal early on the fourth morning. However, Kirmani dropped Dujon off Madan Lal when he was 7 and India's chance of breaking through to the tail was wasted, Dujon and Lloyd restoring the innings with another double-century partnership. Dujon's 110 (fourteen 4s) was his first century in Tests, Lloyd's 106 (one 6 and ten 4s) was his sixteenth. It was only the fifth time in Test cricket that four or more batsmen had passed three figures in a single innings.

Only just over a day remained when India began their second innings and, after Davis caused an early stir by dismissing Gavaskar in his first over, Gaekwad and Amarnath settled the issue with yet another double-century partnership. Already hampered by the absence of a spinner, West Indies' attack was further reduced by foot soreness which kept Holding off the field for all of the final day. Amarnath's fifth century of the tour carried him past 1,000 runs in all matches and was another impeccable innings. Not surprisingly, he was named Man of the Series.

© John Wisden & Co