Virat Kohli’s match-winning double-century, the highlight as we revisit the top memorable knocks by Indian batsmen in Tests in West Indies.
January 21, 1953, it was when Team India first toured West Indies for a Test series. That was the era of the great Indian middle-order batsman, Vijay Hazare, and even though West Indies were without their pace quartet, India still lost the 5-match series 0-1.
Since then, India have toured West Indies 10 more times with India winning 4 times, while West Indies winning 6 times. Surprisingly, out of the 4 series victories for India, 3 series victories have come in the last 3 series.
Overall, however, Team India have won just 7 test matches from the 49 Test Matches with West Indies winning 16 of them. The wall, Rahul Dravid is the leading runs scorer in Tests in West Indies. He has scored a fabulous 1511 runs from 28 innings at a brilliant average of 65.69 with 3 centuries and 11 half-centuries.
In Team India’s 66 years of cricket in the West Indies, there have been some fantastic knocks for us admire. But, which are the ones that would forever be remembered?
Let’s revisit the top 5 memorable knocks in Tests that have a special place in the World of Cricket.
#5: RAHUL DRAVID’S 112(274) | KINGSTON | 2011
Runs: 112(274) | Innings: Third | Match Result: Won
At number 5 we have one of Rahul Dravid’s top knocks in Tests, and probably his best in West Indies.
After gaining a 73 runs lead over West Indies, India approached the second innings looking completely out of the sorts. Except for Rahul Dravid, no batsman looked like playing longer.
Rahul Dravid, as he usually does, stood like a wall at one end, while India kept losing wickets at the other end. Team India made 252 in the second innings as Rahul Dravid got dismissed on the last ball of the innings, but not before scoring a determined 112(274).
Surprisingly, the second-highest score from an India batsman came from Amit Mishra, who played a supporting hand of 28.
Chasing 326, West Indies were undone by Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma as India won the match by 63 runs making it their fifth Test victory in West Indies.
#4: DILIP SARDESAI’S 150 | BRIDGETOWN | 1971
Runs: 150 | Innings: Second | Match Result: Draw
At number 4, we have a match-saving knock by Dilip Sardesai, who single-handedly played a stunning 150 to help save the game for India.
After West Indies put a mammoth score of 501 in the first Innings, India needed the likes of Gavaskar, Viswanath, Vinoo Mankad, etc. to play a match-defining knock. However, none of the star batsmen could impress as everyone fell for a low score.
With India reeling at 60-7, It was Dilip Sardesai who removed India from the troubled waters. He played a valiant knock of 150 to lift India from 60-7 to a match-saving total of 347, else India were all but out of the game.
After gaining a 154 runs lead, West Indies scored 180/6, thus giving India a solid target of 334. However, a spirited performance from Sunil Gavaskar made sure the match ended in a draw.
#3: VIRAT KOHLI’S 200 | NORTH SOUND | 2016
Runs: 200 | Innings: First | Match Result: Won
At number 3, we have Virat Kohli’s first double-century in Test cricket, and also the first double-century by an Indian captain in Tests.
You would not believe, but this was also Virat Kohli’s first double-century in First-class cricket. It took him almost 10 years to reach this milestone.
Batting first, India lost Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara cheaply, but Virat Kohli held India’s innings together. He combined beautifully with Shikhar Dhawan and Ravichandran Ashwin, who struck a half-century and century respectively.
Courtesy to Virat’s stunning double-century, India declared at 566/8; their second-highest score in Tests in West Indies. In reply, West Indies made just 243 and 231 in the first and second innings respectively as India won by an innings and 92 runs.
#2: DILIP SARDESAI’S 212 | KINGSTON | 1971
Runs: 212 | Innings: First | Match Result: Draw
At number 2, we have another Dilip Sardesai Special from Team India’s famous tour of West Indies in 1971.
Batting first in the first test match of the tour, India were reeling at 75-5 as Eknath Solker once again joined Dilip Sardesai to remove India from the grave. The two scripted a wonderful 137 runs partnership for the sixth wicket with Solkar making 61 of those.
Dilip Sardesai didn’t stop there as combined beautifully with the Tailenders. Courtesy to his stunning 212, his first in Test cricket, India managed to put up a fighting total of 387.
India didn’t get a chance to bat in the second innings as West Indies scored 217 and 285/5 respectively after being asked to follow-on.
#1: SUNIL GAVASKAR’S 220 | PORT OF SPAIN | 1971
Runs: 220 | Innings: Third | Match Result: Draw
At numero uno, we have one of the finest knocks of Sunil Gavaskar as he looked invincible in the match-saving knock.
Going into the match, Team India were leading the 5-match series, 1-0, and needed to win or draw the Test Match to win their maiden Test series in West Indies.
Sunil Gavaskar scored a fantastic century in the first innings that helped India put up a solid 360 runs. However, West Indies scored a mammoth 526 in their first innings to gain a gigantic 166 runs lead.
Batting in the second innings, Team India needed another valiant effort from their premier batsman, Sunil Gavaskar to help save the match as well as the trophy.
Gavaskar took the responsibility to the fullest as he single-handedly made a stunning 220 that helped India end their innings on 427. Apart from Gavaskar, only Ajit Wadekar played a decent knock, who scored a supporting 54.
Courtesy to his magical double-century, India scripted a draw as West Indies could only manage 165/8 chasing 262 runs.
So, these have been the most memorable knocks by Indian batsmen in Tests in West Indies. Do mention in the comments if there is another knock which needed a special mention.
Adesh Kothari is the founder of AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics.
Cricket to him is like what ‘Football is to Lionel Messi’, ‘Singing is to Lata Mangeshkar’, ‘Dancing is to Michael Jackson’, and what ‘Acting is to Clint Eastwood’.
Besides his effervescent love for Cricket, Adesh is an MBA by qualification.