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Ind vs WI: A brief history of subcontinent giants in the Caribbean

Rohan Raj | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:49 IST

With a new coach and a pragmatic captain at their disposal, the Indian cricket team will be eager to improve their Test record in the Caribbean when they take on West Indies in the first match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on 21 July.

Virat Kohli, who took over the reigns from MS Dhoni in December 2014, has been in sublime form this year. More importantly, the Delhi lad has been rising fast in the role as Test skipper with five wins, three draws, and just one loss so far.

The 27-year-old was decisive in India's 2-1 win against Sri Lanka - their first Test series win in 22 years. He was also pivotal in his side's 3-0 triumph against South Africa at home which saw them rise to the no. 1 spot in Test rankings.

Ranked second now, the Kohli brigade is set to embark on a four-match Test series against West Indies which undoubtedly acts a precursor to the busiest home season in the history of Indian cricket. And, given their record in the Caribbean, it's not going to be easy.

Ever since Vijay Hazare's side clashed with Jeffrey Stollmeyer's team at Queen's Park Oval in 1953, India have played 45 Tests with West Indies in the Caribbean. Interestingly, the subcontinent giants have managed to win just five matches apart from 16 losses and 24 draws so far.

While India will be wary of their woeful record in West Indies, the series will also be a return to the beginning for the Indian captain who made his Test debut in 2011 against familiar foes. Kohli, who was dismissed twice by Fidel Edwards on scores of 4 and 15 on his debut, managed to score just 76 runs in the three-match series.

But, Kohli has come of age in the five years that have passed. The right-hander has grown in stature to become one of international cricket's most feared batsmen today. And, he will be eager to set the record straight when the new-look Indian team takes the field in the 1st Test today.

As the two teams get ready to lock horns in Antigua, here's a look at India's painful Test history in the Caribbean:

1952/53: West Indies won the series 1-0

India's first-ever tour of West Indies came in the 1952/53 season. Hazare's men began the series well with Polly Umrigar's century propelling India to 417 in the first innings at Port of Spain. But, the hosts came back strong with 438 - led by Everton Weekes' 207 and Bruce Pairaudeau's 115. The second innings saw India use up 143.5 overs to post 294 runs as the first Test resulted in a draw.

After a close shave in the first match, West Indies stepped up their game to outsmart India. Both the teams scored over 250 runs in the first innings, but Dattu Phadkar's 5-64 restricted Windies to 228 in the second innings. However, chasing 272, Hazare's men surrendered the match after being bowled out for a mere 129 runs.

The next three matches were drawn as Stollmeyer's team clinched the series 1-0. Weekes turned out to be the leading scorer with 716 runs followed by Umrigar's 560 in the five-match series. Windies spinner Alf Valentine was the leading wicket-taker with 28 scalps followed by Subhash Gupte's 27 wickets.

1961/62: West Indies dominate India to win the series 5-0

The Indian team, led by Nari Contractor, were completely outplayed by the Frank Worrell side in what turned out to be a forgetful tour of the Caribbean. India lost all five matches by big margins: 10 wickets, an innings and 18 runs, innings and 30 runs, seven wickets and 123 runs.

Apart from the humiliation, India also witnessed an end to the Test career of their captain. Contractor led India in the first two Tests, until he suffered a near-fatal blow to the head by Charlie Griffith in Bridgetown. Contractor's Test career came to an abrupt end at the age of 28.

1970/71: India bounce back to win the series 1-0

It was Ajit Wadekar's side that registered India's first-ever Test series win in the Caribbean. The tour produced the talent which the world came to know as Sunil Gavaskar. While playing in his debut Test series, the right-hander amassed 774 runs in four matches he played.

After the 1st Test was drawn, Wadekar's men won the 2nd Test at Queen's Park Oval to take a decisive 1-0 lead in the five-match series. Riding on the heroics of S Venkataraghavan (1-35 & 5-95) and Gavaskar (65 & 67*), India secured a crucial seven-wicket win on hostile territory.

The next three matches were drawn, but it was the fifth Test that witnessed the absolute masterclass of Gavaskar who single-handedly denied the Windies a chance to comeback in the series. Battling severe tooth pain, Gavaskar carried India's first innings with a knock of 124 runs and then followed it up with a resilient 220-run innings that lasted for 529 minutes.

1975/76: West Indies fight off India to win 2-1

After being beaten by an innings in the first Test, Bishan Bedi-led India managed to draw the second match at Port of Spain. Sunil Gavaskar (156), Brijesh Patel (115*) and captain Bedi (8 scalps) were pivotal in India's win.

Gaining momentum, Bedi's side shocked the hosts with a six-wicket win in the third Test and leveled the series 1-1. With 403 runs to win, Gavaskar (102) and Gundappa Viswanath (112) ensured India achieved the target in a record chase.

In the final Test, West Indies - once again - showed their class as they bowled India out for 97 runs in the second innings to win the fourth match and the series.

1982/83: West Indies secure a 2-0 series win

Clive Lloyd's side began the series on a winning note after a four-wicket win at Sabina Park. After bowling India out for 174 runs in the second innings, Vivian Richards (61) and Gordon Greenidge (42) ensured their side achieved the 172-run target in 25.2 overs.

After the second and third Test were drawn, the Windies delivered the killer blow to India with a ten-wicket win in the fourth match. Gus Logie (130), Andy Roberts (8 wickets) and Desmond Haynes (92) did the damage as the hosts took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

The fifth Test resulted in a draw despite six players scoring a hundred - Ravi Shastri (102) Gordon Greenidge (154), Desmond Haynes (136), Jeff Dujon (110), Lloyd (106) and Mohinder Amarnath (116).

1988/89: West Indies won the series 3-0

Led by Viv Richards, West Indies witnessed a stunning knock of 194 runs by Richie Richardson in the first innings that propelled the hosts to 437 runs. But, India were 86/1 when rain played spoilsport and forced the game to end in a draw.

Richardson was back at it again, when he slammed two fifties in an eight-wicket win at Bridgetown. The third Test saw him score 99 runs in the second innings as West Indies doubled their lead with a massive 217-run win.

But, Richardson had saved his best for the last. The fourth and final Test saw the right-hander score a brilliant 156 in the first innings. His batting heroics were equally supported by Courtney Walsh's ten-wicket haul that guided the hosts to a seven-wicket win.

1996/97: West Indies romp to 1-0 series win

After the first two Tests were drawn, the third match at Kensington Oval saw a thrilling contest between India and West Indies. Asked to bat first, Brian Lara's side scored 298 runs with Shivnarine Chanderpaul 137* anchoring the innings.

In reply, Tendulkar played a captain's knock with 92 runs alongside the much-needed support from Rahul Dravid (78). But, the second innings turned out to be an absolute nail-biter.

After Abey Kuruvilla's five-wicket haul restricted the hosts to 140 runs, Indian batting line-up was shredded to pieces by Ian Bishop (4-22), Curtly Ambrose (3-36) and Franklyn Rose (3-19). Barring VVS Laxman (19), none of the other Indian batsmen managed to score in double digits as the visitors failed to achieve the 120-run target, losing the match by 38 runs.

The fourth and fifth Tests were drawn as the hosts clinched a narrow 1-0 series win.

2002: West Indies won the series 2-1

The first Test saw a splendid batting effort from the West Indies batting line-up, with Carl Hooper (233) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (140) powering their side to 501 in the first innings. In reply, Rahul Dravid's gritty 144* ensured India snatched a draw.

In the second Test at Queen's Park Oval, Sachin Tendulkar's 117 powered India to 339 in the first innings. With 313 runs to get, the hosts were bowled out for 275 following the heroics of Javagal Srinath (3-69) and Ashish Nehra (3-72) as India took a 1-0 lead in the series.

Carl Hooper's side came back strong to win the third Test by 10 wickets and level the series 1-1. The fourth Test was drawn and all eyes were on the series decider as the two teams geared up for the fourth and final Test.

Wavell Hinds' 113 and Mervyn Dillon (6 wickets) turned the tide in favour of the hosts who won the match by 155 runs to secure the series 2-1.

2006: India won the series 1-0

After 35 years, India finally managed to win a Test series in the Caribbean. It was Rahul Dravid's men who achieved the daunting task after winning the fourth and final Test to seal the series.

With the first three Tests drawn, both the teams headed into the fourth match with eyes set on the trophy. Jerome's Taylor five-wicket haul restricted India to 200 in the first innings. But, Dravid's side bounced back with a splendid bowling performance to bundle out the hosts for 103 runs.

Chasing a target of 269 runs, West Indies were bamboozled by Anil Kumble's 6-78 and lost the series decider by 49 runs.

2011: India won the series 1-0

MS Dhoni's first Test series as Indian captain in the Caribbean began on a winning note after his side thrashed the Windies by 63 runs to win the first Test.

West Indies' bowling line-up did well to restrict the visitors to 246, but the hosts were similarly troubled by India's bowling attack to get bowled out for 173. The second innings saw a stunning knock of 112 runs by Rahul Dravid who ensured India set a competitive target of 326 runs for the hosts.

Praveen Kumar (3-42), Ishant Sharma (3-81) and Amit Mishra (2-62) wreaked havoc on the opposition batsmen as the hosts eventually fell short by 63 runs. It also turned out to be a crucial win for India as the remaining two Tests resulted in draws.

First published: 21 July 2016, 8:23 IST
 
Rohan Raj @ro4an_raj

After a poor stint in gully-cricket quashed his hopes of turning pro, Rohan moved away from the playing field and began criticising those who were still on it. Football eases his mind and watching City paint Manchester blue is his elusive dream. When not talking, thinking or dreaming about sports, Rohan can be found listening to EDM or watching movies. A sports correspondent at Catch News, he has previously worked with Hindustan Times, Daily Bhaskar and India Today.

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