First Test Match

INDIA v WEST INDIES 1948-49

At New Delhi, November 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. Drawn. Early on it looked as if West Indies, who won the toss, might find themselves in trouble on the turf pitch. The ball began to lift occasionally and an astute move by Amarnath, India's captain, brought quick results. He took himself off in favour of Rangachari, a round-arm bowler, whose out-swingers were so disconcerting that Rae and Stollmeyer, West Indies opening pair, soon found themselves back in the pavilion. Another shock came at 27, when Headley completely failed; Walcott and Gomez faced a critical situation.

Thanks chiefly to their courage, West Indies made a truly amazing recovery. The pitch became less difficult, and at the end of the day the fourth pair were still together. Then Walcott claimed his first Test century and Gomez needed only one run for the same achievement. Next day he got his hundred and he and Walcott were dismissed in a few minutes, but their 267 stood as a record for any partnership in West Indies Test cricket. Weekes followed with a delightful innings of 128, and Christiani reached three figures for the first time in a Test. With four century-makers, West Indies thus equalled England's record against Australia at Nottingham in 1938. When West Indies' innings ended on the third day for their highest total (631) in Tests, Rangachari claimed five wickets for 107.

More than two days remained, but West Indies found the task of dismissing India twice beyond their powers. India were saved in their first innings by a sound not-out first Test century from Adhikari, but they were forced to follow-on 177 behind. The atmosphere became tense near the end. India needed 25 to clear the arrears with only four wickets left, but in spite of Christiani's skilful slow bowling Adhikari and Sarwate batted safely through the last eighty minutes.

© John Wisden & Co
 
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