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On This Day in 1979: G Viswanath's Splendid Hundred Defines the Series For India Vs West Indies

(Image: News18 Creative)

(Image: News18 Creative)

Gundappa Viswanath produced a series defining performance with a magnificent hundred against the West Indies in the 4th Test in Chennai in 1979. India went to win the match and the series 1-0.

India vs West Indies, Fourth Test, Chennai, January 12-16, 1979: Sunil Gavaskar was captaining India against a Packer-hit West Indian team led by Alvin Kallicharran. The series was tied at 0-0 after the first three Tests. Chennai was hosting the fourth Test of the six-match series. West Indies elected to bat first. It was a solo performance from the captain as everyone fell like ninepins around him. Apart from Kallicharran’s 98 off 155 deliveries, there was no other significant contribution from the West Indian batting line-up. The visitors were bowled out for 228 with Kapil Dev picking 4 wickets.

In what was almost a mirror reply by India, Gundappa Viswanath produced a masterclass 124 hammering 17 fours with almost no substantial contribution from any other Indian batsman. The second highest scorer of the innings were ‘Extras’ with 43! Syed Kirmani made 33 and only two other batsmen registered scores in double-digits. However, India still managed to take a slender lead and scored 255 in the first innings. Viswanath had contributed almost 50% of the team’s runs.

He brilliantly absorbed the pressure of wickets falling around him and still kept the scoreboard ticking. Viswanath came out to bat at 11 for 2 and forged meaningful partnerships with Chetan Chauhan, Anshuman Gaekwad and Syed Kirmani. He was the last man to be dismissed for India. Viswanath kept the innings together and if not for his knock India would have struggled to cross a hundred. He mixed caution with aggression respecting the good deliveries but punishing the bad ones putting them away to the boundary.

Larry Gomes then produced the third solo performance of the match with a fine 91 in the second innings. West Indies had folded for just 151. Kapil Dev picked three wickets again while Venkataraghavan bagged 4. Karsan Ghavri also chipped in with 3 wickets.


Viswanath again top-scored, under pressure in the second innings, with a fine 31. India, chasing 125, had been reduced to 17 for 3, but Viswanath and Gaekwad steadied the ship with a gritty partnership. Kapil Dev scored an unbeaten 26 as India recorded a nail-biting win with three wickets in hand.

India had taken a 1-0 lead in the six-match series courtesy the splendid batting effort of Gundappa Viswanath.

The fifth and sixth Tests in Delhi and Kanpur ended in draws which meant that Chennai was the only result Test of the series. Viswanath had produced a series-defining performance in Chennai which gave India their first series win at home against the West Indies.

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