First Test Match


At Georgetown, March 25, 26, 27, 29, 30. Drawn. Toss: India. Intermittent rain, some of it torrential, confined play to the first two days. The tour conditions provided for play on the rest day if any of the first three days was completely blank, and play was indeed rescheduled for the 28th, but to no avail.

West Indies were without Marshall who, almost a month after spraining his wrist, was still nursing his injury. By including Benjamin, they still armed themselves with four fast bowlers, although the pitch was bare and indicated a lack of pace. Without Srikkanth, the onus of opening the Indian innings with Arun Lal fell on Sidhu. Winning the toss for the seventh time in eight matches on the tour, India decided to bowl first, a tactic prompted less by optimism than by reluctance to bat on a pitch that retained some moisture. But until tea India had taken only one wicket, and there was an element of luck in that, the ball spinning back on Haynes's stumps after he had played the off-spinner, Ayub, with the full face of the bat. That was thirteen minutes before lunch. There followed a partnership of 178 between Greenidge and Richardson, who was unbeaten at the end of the day with 143, having just after tea completed his ninth Test century (158 balls, fourteen fours). When he was 43, Vengsarkar missed him at slip from an edged cut at Kapil Dev. Sharma bowled Greenidge off the inside edge for 82, made in 245 minutes with ten fours, and another success followed quickly when Arthurton was run out by a good throw from Robin Singh, fielding as substitute.

Vengsarkar's decision to put West Indies in would have left him embarrassed had Kapil Dev not come to his rescue with a brilliant spell towards the end of the day. He knocked out Richards's leg stump with a devastating break-back, and with the next ball, one of full length, he accounted for Bishop, the night-watchman. Kapil Dev thought he had Richardson out as well and reacted most angrily when his appeal for lbw was turned down by umpire Barker. On the second day, however, West Indies regained their ascendancy as the overnight partnership between Richardson and Logie endured for all but five minutes of the morning session. West Indies went for quick runs after lunch and lost their four remaining wickets for only 68 runs. Richardson was caught in the deep, having batted for 459 minutes, faced 367 balls, and hit twenty fours. India lost Arun Lal early, caught in the slips from a loose shot at Walsh, but suffered no further diasters. West Indies attack was depleted when Ambrose had to leave the field after bowling only three overs.

Close of play: First day, West Indies 273-5 (R. B. Richardson 143*, A. L. Logie 2*); Second day, India 86-1 (N. S. Sidhu 42*, R. J. Shastri 29*); Third day, No play; Fourth day, No play.

© John Wisden & Co