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India’s First Test Match Victory Against West Indies In Gavaskar’s Debut Series

It was 1971, when India scored its first win against West Indies in Test Cricket with the debut of a great legend: Gavaskar.

ST
Last updated: 10.03.2019
Sunil Gavaskar and Sardesai against West Indies

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India and West Indies played their first series in 1948-49 when West Indies toured India for the first time. West Indies won the series 1-0. In fact they won the first five series between these two teams, three in India and two in West Indies. Indians were trounced 5-0 in their last tour of West Indies during 1961-62 season. The overall record read till then, 23 tests with 12 wins for West Indies and 11 draws.

Hence when India went on to their third tour of West Indies in 1971 there was not much hope among the fans. Led by Ajit Wadekar they had players like Dilip Sardesai, Salim Durani and the great spin quartet. Also they had a Bombay prodigy named Sunil Gavaskar, yet to make his debut. For West Indies, the great fast bowlers of the 60’s Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith were gone and the team led by Sir Garry Sobers was going through transition.

India earned a respectable draw in the first test in Jamaica courtesy  a double century from Dilip Sardesai, India’s ‘Sardi-man’ who was slowly growing into a dependable batsman in the Indian middle order.

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India made two changes in the second test in Port of Spain. ML Jaisimha and Kenia Jayantilal were replaced by two young Mumbai batsmen, Ashok Mankad, son of legendary Vinoo, playing his 8th test and 21 years old Sunil Gavaskar, making his debut.



West Indies won the toss and elected to bat but were given a blow immediately as Roy Fredericks gone for a duck to Abid Ali. West Indies did not score much against the well-disciplined bowling of the Indians and their first innings score was 214. Charlie Davis scored an unbeaten 71.

India had a great start as Mankad scored runs at a brisk pace and scored 44 out of an opening partnership of 68. On the other end young Gavaskar was an example of patience and determination. He added 96 runs with Sardesai and scored a respectable 65 in his debut innings. Sardesai got another hundred and Eknath Solkar contributed 55. India took a lead of 138 despite West Indian spinner Jack Noreiga’s 9 wickets for 95 runs.

West Indies did not do much better in the second innings. Although Fredericks scored 80 and Davis scored another unbeaten 74, Venkataraghavan took five wickets and restricted West Indies to 261.

The young openers for India, Mankad and Gavaskar, gave another good start in the chase of 124. Gavaskar remained unbeaten on 67 and gave a confidence to Indian cricket fans that a new star was born. India got the win on the 4th day of the test match, on 10th march 1971.

This was their first win over the West Indies in the 25th test match between these two teams. Gavaskar went on to score 774 runs in his debut series and 10,122 runs overall in his test career and lead the batting charts before a certain Sachin Tendulkar came from the Bombay backyards.

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