Third Test Match

India v West Indies

At Calcutta, December 27, 28, 29, 31, January 1. India won by 85 runs. It was their first win in 16 home Tests against the West Indies. Indifferent batting by the West Indies contributed as much to their defeat as a major tactical error by Lloyd on the fourth morning when India were struggling to stay in the counter-attack and their performance was reminiscent of their winning streak from 1971 to 1973.

The opening day belonged to the West Indies. They minimised the disadvantage of losing the toss by dismissing India for a moderate score of 233. Roberts was again in the forefront with a haul of five for 50. The innings was held together by a disciplined performance from Viswanath, who batted three hours twenty minutes for 56.

He received assistance from Gaekwad, making his Test début, and Madan Lal. The former's resolution, backed up by a sound technique, helped to take the sting out of the pace attack and while the quick bowlers recharged their batteries, Madan Lal took toll of the spinners.

West Indies passed India's score by only seven runs and the only major innings was a century by Fredericks, who was lucky to be dropped in the slips when 15. Most of the West Indian dismissals were self-contrived and had their roots in overconfidence bred in the previous Tests.

Unusually for India, the most successful bowler was a seamer, Madan Lal. Bowling with great heart and admirable tidiness, he picked up four for 22.

Viswanath had to cope with another crisis in India's second innings. Starting the third day at 8 for no wicket, they finished it at 206 for six, Viswanath surviving with 75 after batting for all but the first hour. Even his vigil would not have sustained India had Engineer not cast himself in an unusual, dour role to score 61. He was contained during the afternoon by spin bowling of unerring accuracy by Gibbs and Willett.

India's last four wickets should not have added anything like 110 runs when the contest was resumed after a day's rest. Roberts forced from Viswanath a snick which was not held and twice again nearly found the edge of his bat. Yet, after only three overs in which he conceded just nine runs, Roberts was taken off.

By the time he returned an hour later, Viswanath and Ghavri had taken the score to 282 and the innings stretched into the afternoon. Viswanath was eighth out at 301, for 139, made in six and a quarter hours and including twenty-two boundaries. It was his first Test century against the West Indies.

The pitch was now yielding spin and irregular bounce. It was the sort on which batsmen could not settle. Yet West Indies still had the edge at the end of the day. They were almost half way to their objective, with only three wickets lost and Kallicharran had looked very secure in making 48 not out.

Next morning, Lloyd tried to storm the Indian bowling and in three overs punished Chandrasekhar severely enough for him to be taken off. But Pataudi did not panic and Chandrasekhar soon produced a gem of a ball that bowled Lloyd off his pads.

Kallicharran then lashed out at Chandrasekhar and was well caught at slip by Viswanath. These two important wickets were lost in only thirty-five minutes for the addition of just 32 runs. The damage proved irreparable.

© John Wisden & Co