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Match reports


At Delhi, November 25, 26, 28, 29

At Delhi, November 25, 26, 28, 29. West Indies won by five wickets. Taken unawares by conditions uncharacteristic of the Feroz Shah Kotla ground - notorious for tall scores and dull draws - both sides were dismissed in the first innings for their lowest totals against each other.
Vengsarkar, in his first Test as captain, won the toss and, despite evidence of moisture in the pitch, elected to bat. He foresaw some help in the fourth innings for the spinners, of whom India had three, including a new cap in Arshad Ayub, an off-spinner. On the opening day, however, seventeen of the eighteen wickets that fell were credited to the fast bowlers. India were bowled out in only 145 minutes for 75, their lowest score in a home Test. The ball swung readily for Davis, who had a big hand in initiating the collapse, and the bounce, too, was much livelier than is usual at this ground. Although the Indian batting did betray dreadful shortcomings, all four West Indies' fast bowlers deserved commendation for keeping a consistent line on or around off stump. This required the batsmen to play at the ball, and resulted in eight of them being caught in the arc between wicket-keeper and gully; the other two were bowled. The catching was of outstanding quality.
Undermined by a splendid opening spell from Kapil Dev, West Indies at one stage looked unlikely to match India's score, for they were 29 for six after ten overs. However, Haynes, who had not scored then, became the mainstay of the innings, and aided by plucky knocks from Davis, Benjamin and Walsh he put West Indies 52 ahead. For the third time in his 66 Tests. Haynes batted through the innings and was last out, rarely appearing uncomfortable in his stay of three and a half hours. He hit eleven fours. Kapil Dev and Chetan Sharma collaborated in the destruction of the innings, which may have ended sooner had India possessed a third seamer.
India made another disastrous start in their second innings and, despite a solid 40 by Arun Lal, were only 30 runs ahead when Shastri was fourth out. The early damage this time was done by Patterson, who claimed eight wickets in the match, and India's plight would have been worse had Vengsarkar, consistently in trouble outside his off stump, not been dropped by Dujon when he was 21 and the score 71 for three. India's recovery after Shastri's dismissal was interrupted when Manjrekar, who had batted soundly for 78 minutes and seen the score to 105, was struck over the left eye by a ball from Benjamin that got up quickly from just short of a length.
However, a flamboyant 44, off only 41 balls, by Kapil Dev turned India's fortunes. His partnership of 73 with Vengsarkar was succeeded by one of 96 for the sixth wicket between Vengsarkar and More, who took care of the second new ball on the third morning. Vengsarkar batted for 405 minutes for his sixteenth Test century, during which he scored his 6,000th run in Test cricket, and when he and More were out in quick succession, the tail wagged productively. West Indies were left to score 276 runs on a pitch which had now stopped helping the pace bowlers, but had become dry enough to offer hope to the spinners. Indeed, Ayub, the newcomer, took four wickets, but Maninder Singh bowled poorly. After an opening stand of 62, West Indies declined to 111 for four, but the issue was settled by a brilliant 109 not out off 102 balls from Richards. With Logie and Dujon proving staunch allies, he batted with great responsibility, and yet not without flair. There were thirteen fours in his 21st Test hundred, his seventh against India.
Close of play: First day, West Indies 118-8 (D. L. Haynes 45*, C. A. Walsh 12*); Second day, India 210-5 (D. B. Vengsarkar 74*, K. S. More 18*); Third day, West Indies 80-2 (R. B. Richardson 15*, W. W. Davis 1*).