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India won by 56 runs
India 260 (50 ov)
West Indies 191 (36.2/44 ov)

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India have lost six of the seven Tests they have played at the Kensington Oval?
(30 April 2002)

Unlike Port of Spain, the Indians don't have fond memories of the Kensington Oval at Barbados, the venue of their upcoming third Test against the West Indies. Once the finest cricketing arena in the Caribbean, the ground that hosted the first Test in the West Indies as far back as in 1930 has seen India end up on the losing side in Tests on as many as six occasions. The only time they salvaged a draw was in 1971, thanks to hundreds from Dilip Sardesai and Sunil Gavaskar.

The tale of Indian woe at the ground began on their first tour of the Caribbean in 1953, when they suffered their only loss of the series, beaten by a whopping margin of 142 runs. The next tour in 1962 was to see India thrashed yet again, this time by an innings and 30 runs. Strangely, for a ground renowned as one of the fastest and bounciest during that period, it was the West Indian spinners Sonny Ramadhin, Alf Valentine and Lance Gibbs who were the chief architects of these two wins.

By 1976, however, the West Indies had assembled their fearsome battery of pace bowlers, and the big men were only too delighted to take over the task of blowing the Indian challenge apart. Andy Roberts and Michael Holding played a significant role in gaining their team a 1-0 lead at the end of the series opener, claiming nine Indian wickets in the match. But a spinner too made his presence felt; David Holford, a leg-spinning all-rounder who went on to play 24 Tests for the West Indies, returned career-best figures of 5-23 in the Indian first innings. By 1983, the fiery pace quartet was more unwilling to share the spoils; they claimed 19 of the 20 Indian wickets to fall, the 20th eluding them as Syed Kirmani ran himself out.

Ian Bishop and Malcolm Marshall led the charge of the quicks in 1989, which again saw the four quicks - Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh were the two others - claim 19 of the 20 Indian wickets that fell. It was Dilip Vengsarkar who denied them the 20th scalp this time, failing to make it to the crease after he had made 20 in the first innings.

The next Test between the two sides at the ground, played in March 1997, offered the Sachin Tendulkar-led Indian side a fine chance to script their country’s first win at the ground. The captain himself led from the front, making 92 before he was unfortunately caught off an Ian Bishop no-ball that escaped the umpire’s attention. The tourists still managed to eke out a 21- run first-innings lead, and this, followed by the dismissal of the West Indians for just 140 in the second innings, seemed to have all but sealed an Indian win.

At least, that was what their supporters in Barbados thought as they made arrangements for celebratory dinners and parties. One senior Indian player though, a former captain himself, did not share their exuberance. He felt that chasing 120 on a wicket where the ball was keeping alarmingly low was an almost impossible task.

He was to be proven right. The West Indies only had to call upon the services of three fast bowlers - Ambrose, Bishop and Franklyn Rose. In just 35.5 overs, the trio managed to bowl the Indians out for 81. VVS Laxman, playing as opener, was the top-scorer with 19. The 38-run win was to clinch the West Indians the series too.

For more details on all the above facts check out [ StatsGuru ]



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