First Test Match

India v West Indies

West Indies won by 267 runs -- a decisive margin in spite of luck running against them for the first three days.

The match began on a pitch that was left quite wet overnight by unseasonal rain. Although the weather had been threatening to break even on the previous day, the groundsman neglected to cover the pitch. The start was delayed until twenty minutes before lunch and although the conditions were ideal for seam bowling, West Indies scored 212 for two on the first day.

Opening the attack, Abid Ali and Solkar were quite unable to harness the pitch's favours. Moreover, Greenidge who made 93 in his maiden Test innings, was twice let off before he had made 15.

He and Kallicharran, who came together at 38, when Fredericks retired with a sprained ankle, put on 139 in just over even time. Even this partnership was ended with a run out and so it was not until the last hour of the day, when Richards holed out at mid-off, that India's bowlers at last struck a blow.

More rain fell that night and the first ball on the second day was not bowled until after lunch. Now the Indian spinners, Venkataraghavan and Chandrasekhar in particular, got the ball to bite and turn and the remaining eight West Indies wickets went down for only another 77 runs in less than two hours. Of these runs, 60 were added by Kallicharran, not out overnight with 64.

Kallicharran's 124, made in four hours, forty minutes, with two 6's and fifteen 4's, was a faultless innings. He played with supreme skill on a pitch from which the ball both turned and lifted. Adding to the merit of his performance was the fact that Kallicharran, a left-hander, had to face in these conditions two of the world's finest off-spinners in Prasanna and Venkataraghavan.

India lost two wickets in just over an hour's batting and although the pitch rolled out perfectly on the third day, they could muster only 260. They would have been even further behind without an adventurous innings of 49 by Abid Ali, who had the assistance of Prasanna and Chandrasekhar in adding 61 for the last two wickets.

Greenidge took his opportunity in the second innings to achieve the distinction of scoring a century in his first Test match. Yet at 75 for three, the West Indies were in some trouble and the Indian bowlers were establishing a strong grip. Then the situation was suddenly and completely reversed by an innings of spectacular belligerence by Lloyd.

Lloyd took fearful risks, but he was seeing the ball too well to run into trouble. He reached 53 from the first 51 balls he received, hitting eleven boundaries. Lloyd needed only another 34 balls to get to his first hundred against India and during this second phase, he hit one 6 and seven boundaries. The clock was now turned well in West Indies' favour and Lloyd scored his remaining 63 runs at a more leisurely rate.

The West Indies bowlers had all the last day and an hour to bowl India out again. They needed to take only eight wickets, as Pataudi (dislocated finger) and Engineer (blow over the eye) had been injured in the field. Badly demoralised, India capitulated before lunch.

© John Wisden & Co