Third Test Match

INDIA v WEST INDIES 1983-84

India brought a large portion of their troubles on themselves by electing to bat last on a newly-laid pitch that had never been played on before and which, predictably, did not last. Ahmedabad became India's eleventh Test center and staged the match at a new ground, the Gujarat Stadium, with a capacity of 60,000, which was well filled on all days but the first.

The West Indian team was unaltered from that which drew the second Test, although the fitness of Holding, who proved a match-winner, was in doubt until the morning of the match. Despite India's unreliable batting in the two previous Tests, they sacrificed some of its strength to increase the potential of their bowling, which indicated a positive outlook. However, a lot of grass had been left on the hurriedly prepared pitch in the vain hope of holding it together, and judging by the length of time Kapil Dev took in arriving at his decision to put West Indies in, it seemed that he did so because he feared for the immediate prospects of his batsmen. India did derive a short-term advantage, for West Indies, after 82 minutes, were 27 for three, all the wickets having fallen to Binny within nineteen balls.

West Indies were 209 for eight at the close of the opening day, the early damage having been repaired by a grim partnership of 107 between Gomes, out to a somewhat dubious slip catch, and Lloyd, who battled 184 minutes for 68 before succumbing to a ball that turned and bounced. After Maninder Singh, a left-arm spinner, had taken four wickets in a row, West Indies again recovered, thanks to Dujon who, despite the difficult conditions, scored effortlessly. The last

two wickets added 91 before Dujon, dazzled by the glare of his approaching century, was last out for a handsome 98. India fought back vigorously, with Gavaskar tearing into the bowling so vigorously that he made 40 of the first 50 in only nine overs. The opening stand put on 127, but then Holding removed both Gaekwad and Gavaskar, the latter with a ball that lifted viciously from just short of a length. But by then Gavaskar had passed Boycott's record for the highest aggregate of Test runs.

No fewer than fifteen wickets fell on the third day. Twelve of them at the pavilion end where the batsmen had to contend with a very rough surface. Sometimes the ball stood up, at others it kept low. With Daniel exploiting it most effectively, India's last eight wickets went down for only 67 runs, and at the end of the third day West Indies in their second innings were 152 for seven, or 192 ahead, with Kapil Dev having bowled twenty overs unchanged and taken six wickets. When West Indies continued their innings on the fourth morning, the ball again lifted frequently, but the pitch having become softer and slower the batsmen had more time to adjust. West Indies' remaining three wickets, which added important runs, were all taken by Kapil Dev, who thus became only the eleventh bowler in history to take more than eight wickets in a Test innings.

India, eventually left 242 to win were hopelessly demoralised by the pitch. Holding had the major hand in the demolition of their innings, which lasted 204 minutes. There was resistance only from Gaekwad, who batted 112 minutes for 29, and from the last pair, Kirmani and Maninder Singh, who added 40 in 81 minutes. Maninder, the last man, was relatively undaunted by some short-pitched bowling.

© John Wisden & Co