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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)