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West Indies in India Nov 1974/Jan 1975 - Summary

"The West Indies: Fifty years of Test Cricket" by Tony Cozier.
(Excerpt) West Indies in India 1974-5

Before it started, the WI tour of India, Sri Lanka  and  Pakistan
in  late  1974  and early 1975 was, quite reasonably, regarded as
crucial to  the  development  of  a  comparitively new  crop   of
players. Not only was the assignment itself an exacting one, with
seven tests in 4 1/2 months, but there was to be  a  new  captain
and  vice captain in charge of a talented but generally inexperi-
enced young contingent. Additionally, for the first  time  in  17
years,   the  WI  would  be  without their  two most seasoned and
succesful Test cricketers, Sobers and Kanhai.

The results, at the end of it all, were  highly  encouraging.  An
enthralling  series  against  India, was won 3-2, yet West Indian
spirits, lifted more by the individual  performances, not   least
the  captain's, and by the indisputable evidence that Lloyd had a
team of enormous potential under him.  There  were some   players
whose  statistical record was moderate, but not one of them could
have considered the tour an embarrasment. In the Tests,  all  the
specialist  batsmen recorded centuries, and every bowler made his

India entered the series following  a  terrible  beating  in  the
three  Tests  in  England  the preceding Summer, and their morale
must have been exceedingly low after huge losses in the first two
Tests.  Pataudi  had been recalled to replace the retired Wadekar
as captain, and every adversity seemed to confront him  personal-
ly,   and  his  team  in  the  early Tests.  That they could have
recovered their spirit to level the series going into  the  final
match was an outstanding achievement.

The West Indies established what appeared an invincible  position
by  comfortably  winning the first two Tests, in which, they were
superior in every department. Bangalore  was  the scene  of   the
opening  match,  the first time the Garden City had ever hosted a
Test, and the West Indies won by 267 runs mainly  on  account  of
outstanding batting by three players and the consistency of their
fast bowlers, of whom Andy Roberts, a young Antiguan on his first
tour, was always the most dangerous.

Sent in to bat on a pitch damp from overnight rain, the West  In-
dies ended the first day at 212 for 2; they were all out the next
day for 289.  With further rain during the night, the pitch   be-
came  a  vicious  turner,  fully  exploited  by the classy Indian
spinners, but it was a masterful technical display by  the  left-
handed Kallicharran which was the hightlight of the exchanges. He
carried his score from 64 to 124 before he was last out - in oth-
er words, 60 out of the 77 added by his team on the second day.

India's reply was built around a succession  of  steady  innings,
but  they  fell 29 short. At 75 for 3 in their second innings and
the Indian spinners rampant, the West Indies were faced  with   a
potential  emergency.  At this juncture, Lloyd, with able support
from Gordon Greenidge, virtually settled the result with  an  ex-
plosive 163, compiled in only three hours and 25 minutes, and in-
cluding 22 fours and two sixes.  Greenidge, in  his  first  Test,
had  been  denied  the satisfaction of a century in the first in-
nings when he was run out for 93, but he  reached  it  now,   his
107   as-  sisting   in a fourth wicket partnership of 207. India
were almost beaten before they started the last innings  of   the
game.  Their two most  experienced batsmen, Engineer and Pataudi,
were unable to bat because of injury sustained while fielding and
Gavaskar's  dismissal   for a duck was a further setback. The ef-
fect was a to- tal of 118.

India's defeat at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground in New Delhi; which
gave  the  West Indies a 2-0 lead, was even more devastating, but
this time West Indian spin played a more prevalent part  than  it
had done at Bangalore.  The home team were without Pataudi, still
injured, and Venkataraghavan was named to replace him only on the
morning  of the match. He did his first duty by winning the toss,
but a paltry total of 220 was  spectacularly  overhauled  by  the
West  Indies,  for whom Richards, Lloyd, Julien and Boyce were in
exuberant mood.  Richards,  troubled  by  Chandrashekar  at  Ban-
galore,  but  now fully in command, and Lloyd, again in irrepres-
sible form added 120 for the fifth wicket; Richards and Boyce 124
in an hour and  a quarter for the eighth. Richards clouted 6 huge
sixes and 20 fours in six hours and  20  minutes  batting   which
brought  him 192*, the sign of a great player in the making.

India, 273 behind, made a pugnacious effort to stave off  defeat,
but  the combination of Gibbs' off-spin and a rain affected pitch
on the fourth day betrayed them.

By now, there were thoughts of a clean sweep by the West  Indies,
so  conclusive had been their dominance. It was their own compla-
cency and carelessness, and the Indian adroitness of capitalising
on it which dramatically altered the picture.

The first day of the third Test at Calcutta  gave  no  indication
that  an Indian renaissance was imminent. Roberts' 5 for 50 meant
an Indian innings of 233, and the vast crowd streamed out of  the
ground  at  the  end  of the first day resigned to another uphill
struggle. The struggling, however, was done by the  West  Indies.
Only   Fredericks  approached his  task with the seriousness of a
Test match when they replied, and they were all out for 240,  the
medium pace of Madan Lal earning him 4 for 22. India were back in
it and Vishwanath ensured that, this  time,  there  would  be  no
surrender. A neat, compact player, he provided the foundation for
a total of 316 and, on a pitch favouring the spin of Bedi,  Chan-
drashekar  and  Prasanna, India finalised a well-deserved victory
by bowling the West Indies out for 224.

It was a tonic for them, and conversely,  a  depressant  for  the
West Indies.  For the fourth Test, the Madras pitch, dry and dus-
ty, provided a stern test for the batsmen, and  the contest   was
really  between  West  Indian  pace  and Indian spin , the latter
eventually squaring the rubber for their team.

Roberts bowled  magnificiently  throughout,  never  allowing  the
batsmen  to relax with his speed and accuracy, taking 7 for 64 as
India folded for 190 in their first innings,  and  5  for 57   in
their second innings 256.  Vishwanath, attacking boldly as he ran
out of partner was 97* when the Indian innings ended, and he  and
Anshuman  Gaekwad, son of a former Test player, held together the
second innings with  a stand of 93.

Small as India's scoring was, the West Indies' was smaller -  192
in  the first innings, and 154 in the second, the first time they
had ever been dismissed for under 200 in a  Test  against  India.
Prasanna  had nine wickets, Bedi six and Chandrashekar three, In-
dia finished victors with a day in hand and, on the crest  of   a
wave,  were favourites for the deciding Test, to be played on the
new Bombay Cricket Assocation Stadium at the end of January.

The pitch was  hosting  it's  first  first-class  match,  but  it
behaved  impeccably. Not so the police, whose overuse of violence
against a lone spectator who had come onto the field to  hail   a
double   century  by  Lloyd  incited  yet another riot.  Play was
aban- doned at tea on the second day but  there  was  no  further
incident when it continued.

By then, the West Indies had secured  an  unassailable  position.
Fredericks' 104, Kallicharran's 98 and Lloyd's double saw them to
528 for five at that stage and Lloyd continued to extend  it   to
604 for six before closing. He himself was dropped when 8, a cru-
cial miss, and went on to his highest Test innings - 242 not out,
with  four  sixes  and  nineteen fours; his vice captain, Murray,
with 91, was with him while 250 were added for the sixth wicket.

India responded capably. Gavaskar, who had not played  since  the
first  Test  because  of injury, contributed a solid 86, the left
handed Solkar reached his first Test century. Vishwanath  contin-
ued   his   consistency   with  95,  and  Gaekwad  had  51.  Yet,
the follow-on was avoided by only two runs. Having to bat  again,
the  West   Indians   pressed   so  hard to achieve the quick de-
claration they wanted that they scored 205 for  3  at  over  five
runs  an  over,  and  gave their bowlers four sessions of play to
dismiss the oppo- sition. They needed only two, Holder's 6 for 39
removing  any  hin-  drance,  securing  victory  by  201 runs and
clinching the series for the West Indies.

Lloyd's final aggregate of 636 was his highest in any Test series
and  it  was  significant that when he failed at Calcutta and Ma-
dras, the whole batting failed. Roberts'  32  wickets were   more
than any other West Indian had taken in a series in India.

 Contributed by Venky (

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