1953 was the year when India toured West Indies for the first time ever. Since then, India has played 10 Test series of which the tourists have won just 3. However, the West Indies of yesteryear is no more, and although they are the double t20 champions, they are ranked 8th in Tests. This series will provide a good opportunity for Kohli and his men to rack up another away series win, with three tough home series scheduled after this against New Zealand, England, and Australia in the coming months.
1952-53: West Indies 1-0 India
Though the hosts gained the lead in the 2nd Test, the thrill of this tour lasted till the final Test. While chasing a decent target of 181, Windies lost four wickets before crossing 100. But, due to lack of time, India couldn’t level the series even after dismissing Sir Frank Worrell and Sir Everton Weekes. In that series, Weekes scored 2 hundreds and a double hundred and averaged 102.
1961-62: West Indies 5-0 India
Indians marched into Kingston cricket ground (5th Test) with hopes of avoiding a whitewash, which had seemed inevitable. They were made to chase a humongous target of 359 runs by the hosts. The visitors showed a little fight after tottering at at 135/6. But, they couldn’t sustain it as Sir Wes Hall demolished India’s lower-middle order and helped the hosts to seal a big win of 123 runs.
Rohan Kanhai, the West Indies legend who had his roots in India, scored 2 tons and a fifty and had a whopping series average of 70.71. Subhash Gupte was sorely missed by India in this seriesMeanwhile, a sad incident happened to Contractor, as he suffered an injury in the right ear while trying to duck to a ball bowled by Charles Griffith.
Sadly though, this series is remembered for a different reason all together. In a match against Barbados, Nari Contractor, who was the captain of the touring Indian team, got hit on the back of his skull after being distracted by an open window in the pavilion while facing a bouncer from Charlie Griffith. Contractor remained unconscious for six days and required blood transfusion. West Indies captain Frank Worrell was the first in line to donate blood to him, and, eventually, Contractor recovered. However, his promising international career was brought to an abrupt end due to the accident.
1970-71: West Indies 0-1 India
It turned out to be a historic tour for India as they grabbed their second ever away series win in their cricketing history at that point. West Indies had proved to be the final frontier, the only team they had not beaten so far.
Despite Charlie Davis and Sir Garry Sobers' stunning performances with bat, West Indies failed to win a single match in the series. India chased down 125 effortlessly in the fourth innings of the 2nd Test to etch out a memorable win. During the 5th Test, Windies choked at 165/8 while chasing 262 and almost gave India another win in the series, but rain saved the home side from another embarrassment.
Even after missing the first Test due to a finger-injury, Gavaskar was at his supreme best in this series, scoring 4 hundreds and 3 fifties and amazed the cricketing world with a marvelous series average of 154.80—Sir Don Bradman was the only one other batsman could pride himself on a higher series average.
1975-76: West Indies 2-1 India
This series was leveled after the 3rd Test. Eventually, the final Test turned out to be the series decider. At the end of the first day of the final Test, India were in a strong position at 178/1, however, an overnight growth of grass on the Sabina Park pitch brought a drastic change in West Indies' tactics. The bowlers began to attack the Indian batsmen round the wicket with short deliveries aimed at their bodies. Gundappa Viswanath broke his finger, Brijest Patel was hit in his face and was forced to retire hurt, and Anshuman Gaekwad, who played a battling knock, was hit by a bouncer behind his left ear and had to be taken to a hospital.
Furious about these tactics, India declared their innings at 306-6 in order to protect his bowlers from being injured. Gavaskar and Bedi was particularly incensed about the crowd chanting “Kill him” when Michael Holding was bowling to Gaekwad. Bedi declared India's innings at 97/5 as he was without three batsmen who who got hit in the first innings and he was determined the protect the rest. Five Indian batsmen were recorded as 'Retired hurt' in the second innings as West Indies were left to chase a meager total of 13 to win the Test and the series.
The Indian Cricket Board lodged a complaint, but to no avail. This series laid the foundation for West-Indian dominance in the next 20 years, as Clive Lloyd stuck to the strategy, he had developed in this series, of using four fast bowlers.
1982-83: West Indies 2-0 India
The inaugural Test of the 1983 tour saw a close fight between both the teams. Indians could fix a target of just 173 for West Indies to chase in the fourth innings. But, even in this chase, there were some twists and turns, thanks to Kapil Dev and Amarnath. However, the target proved to be too small in the end as West Indies won by 4 wickets.
Though Amarnath top-scored, Greenidge possessed the highest average[78.60] in the series. Amarnath scored 2 tons and 4 half-centuries with an average of 66.44.
1988-89:West Indies 3-0 India
The series resulted in a comprehensive victory for the Windies. The 3rd Test, in particular, was a completely one-sided encounter. After setting a target of 431, the hosts handed over the new ball to Malcolm Marshall, and he didn’t disappoint. The pacer sent six Indian batsmen back to the pavilion as the Windies won the Test by a massive margin of 217 runs.
Sir Ritchie Richardson slammed 2 tons and 3 fifties with a brilliant average of 88.42 in this series.
1996-97: West Indies 1-0 India
In the 3rd Test, India had a golden chance to take a lead in the series after the Windies collapsed in the 2nd innings. But, the visitors couldn’t chase even a paltry target of 120 as Ian Bishop, Curtly Ambrose and Franklyn Rose ran through the Indian batting lineup, which had names like VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, and Mohammad Azharuddin, like a knife through butter. Only one Indian batsman reached double digit, VVS Laxman (19), as the team was bundled out for 81.
Javagal Srinath missed the tour completely as he couldn’t recover from the shoulder injury and this added to the bowling woes for India. And except Sidhu's double hundred in the second Test, there were not many happy memories for the Indian side on this tour.
2001-02:West Indies 2-1 India
This was a closely fought series, and after conceding an early lead to their opponents, West Indies came back to win the third and the final Tests to win the series 2-1. The home side showcased their dominance in both batting and bowling in the 5th Test, as India were asked to chase a mammoth target of 403. Sachin was the lone-warrior for his team with a knock of 86 as India fell short by 155 runs.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Carl Hooper shined for West Indies in this series, with the former smashing 3 centuries and 3 fifties. However, one of the most iconic moments in cricket's history was delivered by Anil Kumble in the 4th Test. The leggie bowled 14 overs with head bandages after fracturing his jaw and even dismissed the great Brian Lara—an image which has been etched in the memories of the Indian cricket fans permanently.
2006:West Indies 0-1 India
India won against Windies at the latter’s home nearly after 35 years. Both the teams held their nerves till the last Test as the previous 3 Tests had ended in a draw. The hosts were made to chase 269, but Kumble’s 6 wicket-haul in the last innings gave the tourists a narrow victory of 49 runs.
Dravid averaged 82.66 with a ton and 4 half-centuries. A cherish-able moment for India was to watch the amicable Wasim Jaffer hitting a double hundred in the drawn first Test. Unluckily, Tendulkar missed the series due to an injury, although his absence was clearly not missed, at least in the longer format.
2011: West Indies 0-1 India
India maintained their dominance in 2006 series. After they took the lead in the 1st Test, their focus was to not lose the remaining 2 Tests. The Windies were on 202/7 while chasing 281 in the fourth innings of the 2nd Test, but rain rescued India, who went on to draw the third Test as well. Rahul Dravid was India's shining light in this Test series, while Ishant Sharma starred with the ball.
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