A brief Test history, part 2 : India in the West Indies


Since 1953, when Vijay Hazare’s team took on Jeffrey Stollmeyer’s side at Queen’s Park Oval, India have played West Indies 45 times in Tests in the Caribbean. Of those, they have won just five while losing 16 and drawing 24. Ahead of the four-Test series starting July 21, here’s a look back at previous series between India and West Indies in the Caribbean.Today, part two – from 1988/89 to 2011.1988/89 – West Indies won 3-0Another series sweep for the home team, led by Viv Richards. A rain-marred draw in Guyana saw Richie Richardson, the eventual Man of the Series, take 194 off an Indian attack featuring Kapil Dev, Chetan Sharma, Ravi Shastri, Arshad Ayub and Narendra Hirwani, and that was as good as it got for the tourists. Richardson scored two fifties in an eight-wicket win in Barbados that was hastened by five-wicket hauls to Ian Bishop and Malcolm Marshall; then 99 in a 217-run hammering in Trinidad, where Marshall grabbed 11 wickets; at Kingston, Richardson rounded off his domination with a game-setting 156, while Courtney Walsh was Man of the Match for a ten-wicket haul.1996/97 – West Indies won 1-0Eight years later, a far more evenly contested series went West Indies’ way but it would have been 1-0 for the touring side if not for one of Indian cricket’s most famous capitulations. Draws at Kingston and Port-of-Spain were followed by West Indies beating Sachin Tendulkar’s team by 38 runs at Bridgetown. Fine work from India’s pace trio of Venkatesh Prasad, Abey Kuruvilla and Dodda Ganesh saw West Indies dismissed for 140 in their second innings, which left India a target of 120 to secure an unassailable series lead. What happened next was startling: in 35.5 overs, India were all out for 81 with only one batsman getting into double-digits. The final Test had its first three days washed out, more than enough for Walsh’s team to celebrate a series victory.2002 – West Indies won 2-1This series started with West Indies captain Carl Hooper using an early drop by wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta to score a career-best 233 in a high-scoring draw in which both teams batted just once. Then, led by Tendulkar’s first-innings 117 on a two-paced Queen’s Park Oval surface, India found enough motivation from their bowlers to seal a 37-run win for the series lead. The jubilation was short-lived, however, for at Kensington Oval the hosts hit back strongly with a ten-wicket win. India were struggling from the time they were skittled for 102 on day one, and centuries to Hooper and Shivnarine Chanderpaul buried them. A benign Antigua track produced a dull, run-filled draw in which Sourav Ganguly used himself and his ten team-mates to bowl during West Indies’ innings of 629/9. Hooper’s team clinched the deciding Test by 155 runs.2006 – India won10 A landmark result for India, who under Rahul Dravid won their first series in the Caribbean in 35 years. West Indies’ last-wicket pair held on for a gripping draw in the opener at St John’s, and then on a slow St Lucia surface it was Brian Lara who averted defeat with a watchful 120. That left the scores level heading into the third Test in St Kitts, where India had rain to thank for a draw after hundreds to Daren Ganga and Ramnaresh Sarwan put the under the pump. The scene was set for a fitting finale at Kingston, where two sublime fifties from skipper Dravid proved definitive in a famous Indian victory. In a captivating Test match played on a treacherous surface, Dravid’s 81 and 56 were priceless knocks that set up Anil Kumble’s final-day effort that sealed a 49-run win.2011 – India won 1-0 A somewhat depleted Indian team – several stars were rested after the victorious World Cup and the subsequent IPL season – emerged winners in a low-key series win. It was, not surprisingly, Dravid’s second-inning 112 out of a total of 252 that was pivotal to India’s win in the first Test. West Indies hung on for a tense draw at Bridgetown, in which Ishant Sharma took 11 wickets, which meant the hosts had to win the final Test in Dominica to level the series. More good work from Ishant and a time four-wicket haul from Harbhajan Singh left India a target of 180. On the final day, MS Dhoni’s decision to abandon the run chase with India 94/3 and needing 86 runs to win from 15 overs attracted plenty of criticism. At the crease were Dravid and Laxman, with Dhoni and a rookie Virat Kohli to follow, and West Indies captain Darren Sammy hamstrung. What a looked a solid chase was suddenly called off, with Dhoni and Sammy shaking hands.

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