On January 20, 1980, India beat Pakistan by 10 wickets in the fifth Test at Chepauk Stadium in Chennai to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the six-match series. Pakistan’s tour of India in the 1979-80 season was an exciting series as both Asian rivals duelled in a six-match Test bilateral series. The first two Tests in Bengaluru and Delhi resulted in a draw. While a brilliant team effort by the hosts helped them beat the visiting team by 131 in the third Test in Mumbai, however, the two sides had to endure another stalemate in the fourth Test at Kanpur.
The action then shifted to the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, commonly known as Chepauk Stadium in Chennai. There was a uniqueness about this match as two legends of Indian cricket Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev clicked to seal an emphatic victory. It was also a rare occasion where the generational cricketers’ combined skills and splendour left a strong Pakistan line-up dazed and helpless.
Pakistan skipper Asif Iqbal won the toss and elected to bat first. Kapil Dev’s 4/90 and Karsan Gharvi’s 3/73 restricted the visitors to 272 in their first essay. Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar then produced a splendid century registering 166 in the first innings.
The ‘Little Master’ not only held the fort for his country even as India kept losing wickets at the other end, but he batted seven minutes short of 10 hours to score 166. In his superb innings, he also forged a match-changing 105-run partnership with Yashpal Sharma (46 off 122 balls) before adding another crucial 60-run stand with Kapil Dev.
After his departure, Dev took the Pakistan bowlers to the cleaners by hammering a quickfire 84 off 98 balls. He was ably supported by Roger Binny (42 not out off 45 balls), propelling the home team to a massive 430 in the first innings, with a lead of 158. Imran Khan returned with a five-wicket haul (5/114) for Pakistan.
In the second innings, Kapil Dev demolished the visitors with another splendid display with the ball. He returned with the figures of 7/56 from 23.4 overs and helped his team bundle up Pakistan for 233 and set up a target of just 76 runs. The Indian openers chased down the target easily in 18 overs, keeping all their 10 wickets intact.
The victory at Chepauk gave India an unassailable 2-0 lead in the six-match series. It was India’s second series win against the rivals (first in 1952-53) and also their first series victory in 27 years.