Second Test Match

West Indies v India

But for innumerable missed chances, most of them on the last day, India would have won comfortably, even though all the first day's play was lost to rain.

Although pitches at the Queen's Park Oval are noted for their assistance to spin, Bedi took the justified risk of putting the West Indies in, for the wicket had been over-watered in preparation. Play was about to begin when it started to rain.

A prompt start was made on the second day. The pitch was still damp and with the atmosphere sultry, conditions were ideal for seam bowlers. Fredericks and Rowe did not last two overs and then Bedi and Chandrasekhar removed Kallicharran and Lloyd, respectively, to reduce West Indies to 52 for four, half an hour before lunch.

Richards, who had made a nervous and tentative start, and Murray rallied West Indies with a stand of 122, Richards scoring 130 with twenty-one 4's, in six minutes under five hours. Once Richards settled down, he played magnificently, defending solidly and showing fine judgement in his choice of balls that could be put away.

But at 83 Venkataraghavan had him stranded out of his ground without Kirmani being able to complete his stumping. West Indies ended the first day at 237 for seven and the innings made little progress on the third day.

The foundation to India's innings was scarcely stronger. Shortly after tea, they were 126 for four, their losses including Viswanath, who was superbly got out by Holding. He bowled him to successive balls that came back and then one that left him to induce a snick.

Gavaskar came through the day unbeaten, with 90, having batted with unflinching discipline and concentration. Patel stayed with him through the final session, during which Lloyd took the second new ball but did not set attacking fields for Roberts and Holding.

The partnership flourished on the fourth day and realised 204 runs, a new record for India's fifth wicket against all comers. Gavaskar batted just over eight hours for his 156. He was playing with increasing authority when he got out, forty minutes after lunch. Patel's 115 not out in seven hours was a skilful performance, although he was very tense as he approached his first Test century.

In the last sixty-five minutes of the day, West Indies lost Fredericks and scored 29 runs. The ball turned and frequently kept low. The final day's play was packed with tension, incident and controversy.

A sense of dispute crept in quite early when at the fall of the second wicket, Richards limped to the middle. He had damaged a thigh muscle while fielding on the previous day and after facing only five balls, expressed the wish to retire.

Bedi offered Richards a runner but added that if he wanted to interrupt his innings, he would insist that he did not resume until nine wickets had fallen. There was a considerable pause in play and Lloyd went out to join in the discussions.

Law 33 on the matter states that resumption of his innings by a batsman who has retired is subject to the consent of the opposing captain.

In a brilliant spell of 13 overs, Chandrasekhar removed Kallicharran and Lloyd had more than one narrow escape. He and Rowe batted on till twenty-three minutes after lunch when Venkataraghavan cleverly contrived Rowe's dismissal. Richards came out to resume at this point and, happily, Bedi raised no objection.

Immediately afterwards, Lloyd went for a massive on-drive against Venkataraghavan and miscued it so badly that the ball soared to mid-off. Solkar, fielding as substitute, was right under the ball and was about to make the catch when Patel, having sprinted round from extra-cover, also went for the catch and collided with Solkar. The chance was missed and this one, more than any of the others which India failed to accept, cost them victory.

India also had a chance to run out Lloyd in the very next over. Midway through the afternoon session, Richards was adjudged run out, umpire Gosein's decision leaving Richards palpably dissatisfied and a section of the crowd so agitated as to boo Mr. Gosein for the rest of the day. At the fall of Richards' wicket, West Indies were 141 for five, with about three hours' play remaining.

Murray had a very early escape, Bedi missing him at silly mid-on, off Venkataraghavan. He then kept vigil for another seventy minutes. Lloyd reached 70 in just under three hours and then mistimed a cut at Bedi. He and Murray were out in close succession and at Lloyd's dismissal, eighty minutes' play remained, including the statutory twenty overs.

Just before the count-down started, Holford was eighth out and West Indies then were only 33 runs ahead. Julien could have been quickly caught at short-leg, off the luckless Venkataraghavan, whose figures conceal the fact that he bowled well enough to rout the West Indies single-handed. Julien and Roberts, batting with great resolve, stayed in until the siege was called off in the 13th over of the last hour.

© John Wisden & Co