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The pace war

It's 14 years since West Indies played a Test in Chennai, formerly called Madras

Cricinfo staff
It's 14 years since West Indies played a Test in Chennai, formerly called Madras. In a new series, Wisden.com looks back on some memorable matches the two sides played in India. Fourth Test, Madras, 1978-79
India won by three wickets
On a fast, bouncy pitch at Chepauk in Madras, India went into a Test, for the first time in 12 years, without Bedi, Chandrasekhar or Erapalli Prasanna, their three great wicket-takers of the previous decade. There was, however, a young fast-bowling allrounder named Kapil Dev in the team.
Alvin Kallicharran won the toss and elected to bat, a decision that backfired, as Kapil reduced West Indies to 55 for 4 with some accurate and hostile swing bowling. Kallicharran then dug in, and with a tenacious 98, lifted his team to 228.
Sunil Gavaskar, who had made 567 runs in his last three Tests, was out early as the first day came to a close. On the second, Gundappa Viswanath batted five-and-a-half hours to make 124, as the West Indians unleashed what Wisden described as "a bumper war". The pace trio of Sylvester Clarke, Norbert Phillip and Vanburn Holder bounced the tail out with some shockingly intimidatory bowling as India hobbled to 255.
And then, in the words of Wisden again, "the Indians gave as good as they got". Along with new-ball partner Karsan Ghavri, Kapil blasted through the West Indians, and Venkataraghavan picked up four wickets. West Indies reached 151, largely due to a counter-attacking 91 by Larry Gomes.
India, needing 125 to win, were 17 for 3 and then 82 for 5. But Kapil smashed a quick 26 not out to finish things off. He had taken seven wickets in the match, Ghavri had taken four. It was the first time in over 55 years of Indian Test cricket that the majority of the wickets in an Indian Test win was taken by the pace bowlers. A new era had begun.
Almanack match report
Amit Varma is assistant editor of Wisden.com in India.