India play 100th Test against West Indies; Sunil Gavaskar top run-scorer (2749 runs) & Kapil Dev (89 wickets) top wicket-taker in this rivalry.
West Indies will host India in the second Test match of two-match Test series in the 2023-25 WTC Cycle on July 20 and the game will be played at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain. This game holds more significance than just be part of the WTC which nowadays has become an integral part of Test cricket.
The game at the Queen’s Park Oval is also the 100th time that India and West Indies are taking on each other in Test cricket. West Indies will become only the third side against whom India have played 100 Tests; the others being Australia and England. Similar case for West Indies as India will become the third opponents who have faced them in 100 or more games after Australia (118) and England (163).
Head-to-Head – 99 Tests; Matches won by West Indies – 30; Matches won by India – 23; Drawn - 46
When we consider the historical head-to-head, West Indies lead India by a win margin of 30-23 thanks to their dominance over the Asian team before the fall of the century. However, since their 2002 home series against India where WI won 2-1, the Caribbean team have never won a Test match against India in 24 attempts. India have won 15 Tests in this period including the one at Dominica last week.
India first played the West Indies in the 1948-49 home Test series which resulted in a 1-0 win in favour of the visitors and since then there have been many memorable clashes between the sides. Let’s look at some of the dominating performances by either sides as well as few of the close finishes that we have seen in a seven-decade long Test rivalry.
India’s biggest Test wins vs West Indies
Innings and 272 runs at Rajkot, 2018
India trounced a hapless touring West Indies side by an innings and 272 runs in 2018 on the back of a debut century from Prithvi Shaw who made 134, while Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja made their respective tons as India amassed 649/9.
West Indies, in response, could manage only 181 and 196 runs in their two innings as Indian spinners wreaked havoc on the Windies batters.
318 runs at North Sound, 2019
India clinched their biggest overseas Test in the West Indies at North Sound in Antigua in 2019. The visitors made 297 batting first with Ajinkya Rahane (81) and Ravindra Jadeja scoring their fifties. Ishant Sharma picked a fifer, 5/43, as WI could muster only 222 in their first essay.
India built on their 75-run lead by adding 343 more runs in second innings thanks to Ajinkya Rahane’s century. Jasprit Bumrah’s dream spell of 5/7 bundled out WI for a mere 100 runs in the second innings.
India’s narrowest Test win vs West Indies
37 runs at Port of Spain, 2002
In what was a tense close finish to the Test at the Queen’s Park Oval, India rode on the back of a century from Sachin Tendulkar who made 117 and half centuries from Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman to score 339 runs in the first innings.
Thanks to a spirited bowling performance, India managed to keep down West Indies total to just 245, gaining a 94 run lead but the hosts bounced back to bowl out India for just 218 despite fifties from skipper Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman who scored 74.
In pursuit of 313, WI scored 275 in the fourth innings thanks largely to 67 from Shivnarine Chanderpaul but Indian bowlers, Javagal Srinath and Ashish Nehra, were too good for them.
WI's biggest Test wins vs India
Innings and 336 runs at Eden Gardens, 1959
West Indies dominated this Test match in Kolkata courtesy of a double century by Rohan Kanhai who made 256 while Basil Butcher (103) and Gary Sobers (106) also shined. West Indies posted a mammoth 614/5 in their first innings.
India, in response, got bowled out for 124 and 154 in their two innings as Roy Gilchrist picked a 9-fer in the Test giving West Indies their biggest Test win over India.
295 runs at Chennai, 1959
In the very next game of the 1959 Test series at Chennai, West Indies once again produced a memorable performance with Basil Butcher (142) scoring his second successive century as the visitors piled up 500 runs in the first innings.
India put on yet another listless performance by getting bowled out for 222 in the first innings and then just 151 while chasing 447 in the second knock. Gary Sobers picked 6 wickets in the Test to give West Indies their biggest win over India in terms of runs.
WI's narrowest Test win vs India
38 runs at Bridgetown, 1997
In what was an epic finish to the game, India came agonisingly short of registering a rare overseas win in the 1990s. Batting first WI made 298 thanks to a splendid century from Chaderpaul who scored 137. India gained a slender lead of 21 runs largely due to a 92 from Sachin Tendulkar and 78 from Rahul Dravid. Franklyn Rose picked 4/77.
WI collapsed to 140 all out in their second knock with Abey Kuruvilla picking 5/68 leaving India to chase 120 to win. The home side pacers comprising of Curtly Ambrose, Franklyn Rose and Ian Bishop picked 10 wickets among them as India succumbed and choked to a 38-run defeat.
Top run-scorers in India vs West Indies Test matches
For India – Sunil Gavaskar – 2749 runs
There are no prizes for guessing who India’s highest run-scorer could be when it comes to this famous and vintage rivalry. Sunil Gavaskar, the former India skipper and legendary champion batter in his days, accumulated 2749 runs against the then fearsome West Indies bowling.
Out of the 34 Test centuries he hit in his illustrious career, 13 of them game against the Windies to go with 7 half-centuries; he had an astonishing average of 65.45 in Tests against the Caribbean kings in 27 Tests. He is also the leading run-scorer overall in the India-West Indies rivalry.
For West Indies – Clive Lloyd – 2344 runs
The two-time World Cup winning captain of West Indies, Clive Lloyd, is the highest run-scorer for the West Indies against India in Tests. The left-hander is among the most feared batters of that generation, and he took a liking to India’s bowling attack in the 70s and 80s.
Lloyd played 28 Test matches against India (most by any player of either side) and scored a whopping 2344 runs at an incredible average of 58.60. He smashed 7 centuries along the way.
Top wicket-takers in India vs West Indies Tests
For India – Kapil Dev - 89 wickets
The legendary Indian all-rounder and World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev holds the record for most wickets in Tests in India vs West Indies Test matches. He has taken a mighty haul of 89 wickets in 25 Tests (average 24.89) which includes 4 five-wicket hauls to go along with the 1079 runs he made with the bat.
Even though India were on the receiving end in most of the series, Kapil Dev’s individual brilliance in India-WI Tests cannot be neglected.
For West Indies – Malcom Marshall – 76 wickets
If it was Kapil Dev for India, then it is the great late Malcom Marshall for the West Indies. Part of the most feared bowling quartet, the pace bowler from West Indies threatened Indian batters with his high speed just like he did to many other teams during that era.
He played 17 Tests against India, picking 76 wickets at an average of 21.98 with 6 five-hauls to his name.