Sixth Test Match


Shortened by rain, the match was notable only for the equalling or establishing of several records. The most prominent of them was Gavaskar's achievement of his 30th century, which put him at the head of the list of century-makers in Test cricket. In scoring 236 not out, he also surpassed the previous highest score by an Indian in Test cricket. Choosing to bat at No. 4, Gavaskar was associated in two new partnership records for India against West Indies - 170 for the sixth wicket with Shastri and 143 unbroken for the ninth with Kirmani. By taking five wickets in India's innings of 451 for eight declared, Marshall equalled the West Indian record for most wickets in a series - 33 by A. L. Valentine against England in 1950 and by C. E. H. Croft v Pakistan in 1976-77. Kapil Dev, with 29, became the highest Indian wicket-taker in a series against West Indies.

As in the two other drawn Tests in the series, India led on the first innings by a substantial margin, though at one stage, when they were 67 for four, they stood in peril of being beaten again. West Indies, who won the toss for the first time since the opening Test, did not themselves bat very well on an amiable pitch. Although all their front-line batsmen played themselves in, only Dujon (62 in 215 minutes) got more than 34. West Indies were 232 for seven at Dujon's dismissal, but they prospered from an eighth-wicket stand of 71 between Marshall and Holding.

With Marshall striking twice with consecutive balls in his second over, India lost Gaekwad and Vengsarkar without a run on the board. Both were brilliantly caught at third slip by Harper, who was later to capture his first Test wicket. Navjot Singh and Gavaskar put on 54 for the third wicket, staying together for 101 minutes. There was a half-hour stoppage, caused by Davis, fielding on the boundary, being struck by a missile thrown from the stands. Lloyd led his team off the field and resumed only after receiving assurances from the state Governor that police supervision would be increased.

After the effects of overnight rain had delayed the start of the fourth day by an hour, Marshall again bowled with hostility. From his second ball Gavaskar survived a vehement appeal for a catch at third slip, and the West Indians were so convinced that Gavaskar was out that they did not offer congratulations when, between lunch and tea, he reached his record-breaking century after batting for 271 minutes. Only two wickets fell during a day which finished with Gavaskar on 149. On the fifth and last day, Kapil Dev waited for Gavaskar to pass the previous highest Indian Test score (231 by Vinoo Mankad against New Zealand in 1955-56) before making a token declaration. Gavaskar batted in all for 644 minutes and hit 23 4s and two 5s.

© John Wisden & Co