On this day: A Sunny day at Port of Spain

Sunil Gavaskar, one of the first superstars of Indian cricket, made his debut against West Indies at Port of Spain on March 6, 1971.

Sunil Gavaskar scored 774 runs in the series, which included a double hundred in the fifth Test.   -  THE HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

The 1970-71 season was a landmark of sorts for the Indian cricket team. It saw many firsts — a Test win against West Indies in its own backyard, a series triumph and the arrival of a champion, Sunil Gavaskar.

The five-match series turned many heads when the first Test at Kingston ended in a draw.

Gavaskar with his first captain, Ajit Wadekar.   -  THE HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

 

The stage was set for the 21-year-old Gavaskar. The stylish right-hander walked into a dressing room, filled with positivity and confidence, for the second Test at Port of Spain. He meant business from the first ball he faced.

After playing a few aggressive shots — including a hook off Grayson Shillingford — he was almost dismissed. Sir Garry Sobers failed to take the nick at second-slip off Vanburn Holder when Gavaskar was on 12.

He added 68 runs for the first wicket with Ashok Mankad and also went on to score a half-century.

West Indies captain Sir Garry Sobers congratulates Abid Ali (left) and Gavaskar after India's victory at Port of Spain.   -  THE HINDU PHOTO ARCHIVES

 

When India looked comfortable at 186/2, off-spinner Jack Noreiga provoked Gavaskar to play a rash stroke that went straight into the hands of Clive Lloyd at square-leg. He batted for 262 minutes and scored a gritty 65, studded with seven fours.

Gavaskar carried the momentum into the second innings. He helped India chase down 124 with another half-century on Day Five.

He not only remained unbeaten on 67, but he also hit the winning runs to script history.

Gavaskar in West Indies 1970-71

Second Test: 65 and 67 not out

Third Test: 116 and 64 not out

Fourth Test: 1 and 117 not out

Fifth Test: 124 and 220

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