The story when India lost the opportunity against West Indies in 1997

By Bet Barter

August 31, 2020

The Indian test series team had been a very weak traveler in countries such as the West Indies, South Africa, and Australia by early 2000 with little progress. India had a wonderful chance to win a test match in Barbados on 31 March 1997.

The visitors fell for a paltry 81 in order to chase the 120 on a track of uneven bounce. The trio of WIndies pace — Ian Bishop 4 for 22, Curtley Ambrose 3 for 36 and Franklyn Rose 3 for 19 — shared this loss.

Brian Lara’s first test match as a captain

As captain, this was Brian Lara’s first test match and he wanted a hint. Owing to the initial test century of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the West Indies scored 298 in the first innings. Slowly he, Lara and Hooper became a strong mid-order a batsman of West Indies. For India, Javagal Srinath, her pace of spearhead was hurt, and Venkatesh Prasad led the pack and took five wickets in 1st innings.

With 92 of captain Sachin Tendulkar, India responded strongly and 78 of Rahul Dravid. With India losing just four wickets on 273, it was very likely to lead about 100. But Ambrose, Bishop, and Rose of the West Indian bowling trio raced through the northern Indian order and were out for 319 with a lead of just 21.

The 2nd innings

In the 2nd innings Abey Kuruvilla, the tall fast bowler from Mumbai, reported his only international carriage. Dillon and Ambrose added 33 runs to the last wicket, and Lara scored a decent 45. Though the innings were well bowled, the Indies struggled to close again and the West Indians reached 140 despite their success.

However, after 1976 India had just 120 runs to win its first test match in the West Indies and they had more than two days to do that. The only problem was the pitch in Bridgetown, which with erratic rush and cracks became harder and harder to hit per each passing minute. India started on the 4th day on the 31st March with 2 board runs and VVS Laxman openers. Sidhu was going first when the delivery of Franklyn Rose was painfully long and had his bat’s shaft caught in slips. At 16/2 in the 13th over, Dravid nicked the guard with India.

The game played by Indian team

Laxman played a series of streaky shootings at 19, but on 32/3, Rose was the third victim. Ambrose and Bishop took over the senior bowlers from here. For the four, Sachin Tendulkar had been pouched in front of Lara. Ambrose bowled Azhar and Sourav Ganguly on uncommonly low deliveries.  With the lowest order, India had just 81 of its seventh-lowest score at the time. In the three and four wickets, Ambrose and Bishop gained the victory in the West Indies from a draw. It was a surprising setback for India and lost a great opportunity. They waited until 2001 for the elusive match of the Overseas Test.

India had an excellent chance of winning the test match on March 31st in the year 1997, but the next was indeed a splendid bowling result.

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