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Tricolour hoisted in Port of Spain!!!

The third test of India's 1975-76 tour of the West Indies was one of the most memorable matches in the history of Indian cricket. Bishen Singh Bedi's tourists were deprived of victory in the second Test by the weather-gods. But India carried forward the psychological advantage that they had gained in that match. Ironically, the weather-gods, who had been cruel to them in the second Test, came to their aid in the third. Incessant rainfall in Georgetown, the venue of the third Test, forced the authorities to reschedule the third Test to the same ground on which the second Test had been played - the Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad, India's luckiest ground in the Caribbean!

The West Indies batted first in the third Test and scored 359, thanks to the brilliance of Vivian Richards who brutalized the Indian spinners to score a magnificent 177. Chandrasekhar (6-120) and Bedi (4-73) shared the wickets. The Indian reply was not very impressive, with 'Whispering Death' Michael Holding in a destructive mood. He took 6-65 and limited the Indians to 228. The West Indies went for quick rusn in the second innings and Clive Lloyd called his batsmen in at 271-6, thus setting the Indians a stiff target of 403 in a day-and-a-half. Lloyd was convinced that this target was beyond India's reach on a deteriorating fifth-day track. History was on his side. Only one team - Sir Don Bradman's Invincibles of 1948 - had scored over 400 in the fourth innings of a Test to win the game.

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Ian Botham.

Lloyd believed in history, and the Indians went on to show that they could alter it! Openers Sunil Gavaskar and Anshuman Gaekwad put on 69 for the first wicket. Mohinder Amarnath was promoted to no. 3 and he remained unbeaten along with Gavaskar at stumps on the fourth day. The score at that stage was 134-1. The Indians were not thinking in terms of a victory, their main priority being to 'save' the match. Gavaskar was 86 not out. The little master completed his century, his fourth at the Queen's Park Oval, on the fifth morning, but was caught behind soon after. The score was 177-2. Another little master, the inimitable Gundappa Vishwanath, replaced him in the middle. Lloyd for some reason, decided against taking the new ball that was due, and told his spinners to carry on. His slow bowlers however let him down. Vishwanath and Amarnath stroked the ball around with little or no discomfort, and by the time Lloyd asked for the new ball, it was too late. Vishwanath was, as they say, 'in the zone'. The new ball only increased the run-rate and the Indians went into the final session within striking distance of a famous victory. Vishwanath and Amarnath added 159 before the little master fell for a masterly 112, his first Test hundred on foreign soil. Gacaskar had laid the foundation and Vishwanath had erected the structure. It was now upto the middle-order to apply the finishing touches, and they didn't disappoint.

India needed only 65 to win with seven wickets in hand when the mandatory 20 overs commenced. Brijesh Patel, who had replaced his co-Bangalorean Vishwanath at the crease, was at his attacking best. India were only 12 away from the target when Amarnath was run out in the ninth mandatory over. Patel cut the last ball of the thirteenth to take India to a memorable victory. This match was a result of team effort, with all the eleven players contributing to the win in some way or the other. Those were the days when there was no live television coverage of matches played in the Caribbean, and radio commentary was available only upto 12 am IST. The Indian public came to know of its team's feat only through the recorded radio commentary at 7:30 am!

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