Second Test Match

India v West Indies

The Indian batting, sorely missing Gavaskar, who fractured a finger during a Ranji Trophy match the previous week, broke down in both innings. The disintegration in the second innings was hastened by a rain-affected pitch.

The pitch was palpably underprepared, but till the rain came it did not yield the spin which the coarseness and looseness of the top surface led one to anticipate.

India's only consolation while they were dismissed for 220 on the first day was an innings of 54 by Parthasarathy Sharma, a 26-year-old newcomer to Test cricket. He faced the pace bowling with equanimity and was most impressive in his attack on the spinners. He batted two and a half hours, hitting one 6 and six boundaries, and it was only the prospect of running out of partners that caused him to play a desperate shot resulting in a catch in the deep.

Earlier, Naik, brought in as a replacement for Gavaskar, had made 48, but without suggesting Test class. Viswanath looked like played a big innings until he sliced a drive against Julien.

On a slow pitch which they did not trust, West Indies initially grafted for runs. The Indian spinners bowled well and kept India in the game by removing the first four batsmen, including Greenidge and Kallicharran, for 123 runs. Lloyd came in at this point and flung open the floodgates. In a tempestuous innings of eighty-six minutes, during which he received 94 balls, Lloyd made 71, including one 6 and seven 4's.

The contempt with which Lloyd treated the bowling inspired Richards and gave him the confidence to join the offensive. Playing in only his second Test, Richards went on to make 192 in five hours with as many as six 6's and twenty boundaries. His last 92 were scored in about even time. He hit five 6's during this phase of his innings. Julien and Boyce also joined in the savage plunder of runs.

The West Indies were lucky to get two borderline decisions in their favour. Richards, when only 12, survived a most confident appeal for a catch at the wicket. And there was no great doubt in the minds of the Indian fielders that Boyce, who made 68, was caught at slip before he had scored.

India's efforts to fight back in the face of a first-innings deficit of 273 were limited to a partnership of 101 for the fourth wicket between Engineer and Sharma. Sharma, overanxious to get the single which would have taken him to his second fifty of the match, ran himself out and the tide turned irrevocably.

Engineer, whose innings had been interrupted by a retirement forced through a blow on the head while facing Roberts, made 75. Despite problems against Gibbs, he batted phlegmatically. Engineer's concentration was affected by Sharma's run out and he himself went not long afterwards.

India were 237 for five at the end of the third day. It rained overnight and on a nasty, drying pitch, the remaining five wickets could not delay West Indies' inevitable victory for more than an hour. Gibbs took three of these wickets for nine runs. He had tested the batsmen even while the pitch was dry and his match haul of eight for 116 was a remarkable achievement considering that before this game, he had taken only one wicket on the tour.

© John Wisden & Co