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Saturday, October 6, 2018

WI slips to heaviest Test defeat against India - Rajkot 2018


There was a time,  when the name brought ‘awe’ to their opponents – hard hitting openers, great batsman – and more than anything else, battery of pace-bowlers, who put fear in the minds and bloods in the shirts of opposition batsmen – the team called ‘West Indies’.

To shake hands or not to shake hands is perhaps not the most important conversation Sarfraz Ahmed will have this week as Australia plays Pakistan in Tests. But to Tim Paine and this new Australia, as they move on from that era to this, what Paine called, "bit of a new one", it is slightly more important. The two teams will shake hands before the Test begins, it was decided in a conversation between the two captains in between their press conferences that lasted about as long as a good, sturdy handshake. Sarfraz was slightly bemused by the request, asking only when and how it would happen ?

At Rajkot today,  the  great West Indies procession ended with their heaviest Test defeat against India, by an innings and 272 runs. It took India under 100 overs to bowl them out twice in their third straight three-day defeat in India. Fourteen of the 20 wickets fell in two sessions and a bit on the third day. The pace at which the batsmen kept going back to the pavilion prompted India to enforce the follow-on. In the follow-on innings, Kuldeep Yadav benefited, becoming only the seventh player to register five-fors in all three formats of international cricket.

Only Kieran Powell managed to resist, scoring an attacking 83 off 93, but even this innings was built more on luck than a method in the initial stages. To his credit, Powell hardly made a mistake once he was past the early high-risk shots that managed to evade fielders. The day began  with West Indies resuming at 94 for 6. Despite streaky devil-may-care batting from Roston Chaseand Keemo Paul, India took the four wickets well before lunch, making the follow-on decision easy after having bowled West Indies out in 48 overs.

The India – WI rivalry at home started way back in Nov 1948; the first 3 tests at Delhi, Mumbai & Calcutta were drawn but in Jan 1949, India lost by an innings & 193 runs at Chennai.  The first ever victory over WI was to come in Dec 1974 at Calcutta, followed by that Pongal test win in 1975 at Chepuak.  In that 4th test on Jan 1949, WI batting first made 582 with AF Rae and JB Stollmeyer making centuries.  Dattu Phadkar took 7/159.  Indians were bowled out for 245 – Rusi Modi making 56; following-on, they wre all out for 144 – Vijay Hazare making 52.

There were 2 debutants in that Madras test  – Madhusudan Rege, a right handed opener, who played that solitary test.  Earlier, in Ranji he had  scored 133 and 100 for Maharashtra against Bombay and before long was representing India against West Indies at Madras. He scored 15 and 0, falling to Prior Jones both times.   The other debutant was Nirode Chowdhury,   the first Test cricketer from the state of Bihar,  a slightly-built but lively medium-paced off-spinner who played one Test for India in 1948-49 and another one three years later. He was picked to tour England in 1952 but hardly figured in a match.

Uttarakhand opener Karn Veer Kaushal became the first batsman to score a double-century in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, hitting 202 off 135 balls in a Plate Group match against Sikkim today.  The previous highest score in the Vijay Hazare Trophy was Ajinkya Rahane's 187 for Mumbai against Maharashtra in Pune in 2007-08. Kaushal accelerated steadily during his innings, reaching 50 off 38 balls, a century off 71 balls, 150 off 101 balls and his double-century off 132 balls.

In case you do not know,  Vijay Hazare Trophy named after Vijay Hazare, is a limited overs domestic competition,  also known as the Ranji One Day Trophy, started in 2002–03 as a limited-overs cricket domestic competition involving state teams from the Ranji Trophy plates.  Tamil Nadu has won the trophy 5 times. Karnataka are the current champions of the trophy in 2017-18 who won their 3rd title beating Saurashtra in the finals.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th Oct 2018.


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