Revisiting Windies' last Test win in India
The last time the West Indies won a Test match in India was in 1994 at Mohali. That was nearly 25 years back. On the eve of India-West Indies Test series 2018, let us travel down memory lane.
The 1994-95 series was a three-Test series. Azharuddin was the captain for India and for the men from the Carribean, it was Courtney Walsh. West Indies were without Richie Richardson, Curtly Ambrose and Desmond Haynes due to various reasons.
West Indies came into the 1994 India series without losing a single Test series since 1980. In the 14 years from 1980 to 1994, West Indies faced different opponents in different countries and never lost a single Test series in that period. Such was their dominance. The onus was on Walsh and his teammates to hold on to that unbeaten record. It was expected to be an uphill task as they were without their 3 star players.
India won the first Test at Mumbai by 96 runs. India should have won the second Test at Nagpur and with that the series. In Nagpur, chasing a fourth innings target of 327 to win, West Indies were in a spot of bother when they lost their third wicket, that of Brian Lara, with the team score on 22. There were more than 55 overs left in the match.
Jimmy Adams was padding up every ball bowled by the spinners, Kumble and Raju. Adams survived 148 balls to earn an honorable draw for West Indies.
When the teams arrived for the Third Test match at Mohali, the series was very much alive. The West Indies had a chance to level the series and maintain their unbeaten record since 1980. This was the first Test match ever played at Mohali. Mohali had become India’s 19th Test venue. The West Indies captain was a doubtful starter for this match but Walsh defied a neck injury and joined his team as the Captain and the No 1 fast bowler.
West Indies won the toss and decided to bat first. For India, Ashish Kapoor was making his debut. West Indies went into the match with 4 fast bowlers. West Indies opened with Phil Simmons and Williams while India opened the bowling with Manoj Prabhakar and Javagal Srinath.
West Indies were 103 for 3 when Brian Lara got out. Jimmy Adams, the star batsman for the West Indies in the series was still at the wicket. He was joined by Carl Hooper and the two added 82 runs for the 4th wicket. After Hooper’s dismissal, Arthurton and wicket-keeper Murray got out quickly. But Jimmy Adams was batting solidly at one end.
Adams was the thorn in India’s flesh the entire series. He reserved his best for the last Test match. Adams and fast bowler Andy Cummins put on 99 runs for the 7th wicket. In the end, West Indies finished their first innings at 443. Jimmy Adams remained not out on 174. For India, Kumble took 4 wickets.
The Indian innings started on a disastrous note when Navjot Sidhu was out in a bizarre fashion, bowled off his helmet off the bowling of Walsh. Manoj Prabhakar and Sanjay Manjraker added 101 runs for the 2nd wicket before Manjrekar got out for 40. Tendulkar made 40 while Captain Azharuddin scored 27.
While wickets were tumbling at one end, Prabhakar was quite solid at the other end. Finally, Manoj Prabhakar scored his maiden Test century and was dismissed by Walsh for 120.
Prabhakar’s wicket brought about 3 more wickets and at one stage India were 323 for 9. Javagal Srinath and Venkatapathy Raju added 64 crucial runs for the last wicket. Srinath remained not out on 52 and India were all out for 387. For West Indies, Benjamin and Cuffy took 3 wickets each. West Indies secured a first innings lead of 56 runs.
West Indies, in an attempt to force a win and level the series, went for quick runs in the second innings. Walsh promoted Brian Lara to open the innings. Brian Lara had had an ordinary series until then. But the situation of the match allowed Lara to play his natural attacking game.
Lara showed his class scoring 91 off just 104 balls. Jimmy Adams once again came to the party and scored 78 off 84 balls and remained not out. Adams had scored a total of 252 runs in the Mohali Test without being dismissed once. West Indies reached 301 for 3 at almost 5 runs an over and declared the innings.
Needing 358 for an improbable win, India were 37 for 1 at the close of 4th day’s play. Sanjay Manjrekar and Tendulkar were at the crease while Manoj Prabhakar had to retire hurt after his nose was broken by a ball from Walsh that burst through his helmet grille.
When play started on the last day, the Indian batsmen did not look confident of batting through the day to draw the Test and thereby win the series. West Indies, on the other hand, were desperate for a win which would level the series. Benjamin and Walsh started the bowling for West Indies. They were relentless with their pace and movement.
Benjamin first dismissed Tendulkar in the day’s third over. At the other end, Walsh took care of Sanjay Manjrekar. In no time, India were reduced to 68 for 8. Srinath and Raju once again came to India’s rescue and took the score past 100. But the writing was very much on the wall as West Indies won by a huge margin of 243 runs.
Walsh and Benjamin bowled unchanged on the last day for 10 overs each. Benjamin finished with figures of 5 for 65 while Walsh had 3 for 34. By leveling the series 1-1, West Indies just about managed to hold onto their 14-year unbeaten record. It was a remarkable achievement by the West Indies team who were without Richie Richardson, Curtly Ambrose and Desmond Haynes.
Jimmy Adams was their hero as he finished the series with 520 runs. Adams was adjudged the man of the match and the man of the series. Courtney Walsh led the team astutely.
For the Indians, it was a disappointing series, a series they could have won easily.
Since that Mohali win in 1994 under Courtney Walsh, the West Indies team have played 8 Test matches in India and failed to win even a single Test match. Team India have won the last 6 Test series against the West Indies, 3 on home ground and 3 in the Carribean.
History is against Jason Holder and his team. But if Holder has the willpower of a Courtney Walsh, the current series might be the one to turn things around for the West Indies.