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
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!