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25th April that year - “Bloodbath at Kingston”

25th April that year - “Bloodbath at Kingston”
Image Credit- Aaj Tak

It was 4th and the Final Test of the series being played in West Indies. Both the players were on equal scores with a victory of one match on each side. The deciding match was scheduled at Kingston, Jamaica. Both the teams were head on for a win. Especially, the West Indies was under extreme pressure for the victory, since they had just returned from a humiliating defeat from Downunder. The haunting was still fresh.

West Indies were extremely sure that pitch at Sabina park will create pace and bounce so they opted for four fast bowlers. Still, the Indian batsmen played it decent and on the first day, the game ended with India at 178-1. However, it didn't go decent the next day as the bowlers started to target on the body of the batsmen from round the wicket. As a result, Mohinder amarnath, Vishwananath and Brijesh Patel lost their wickets and faced bad injuries. The bloodbath had begun. Then it was Anshuman Gaekwad who led the team with his 81 runs. But the opponent bowlers who were slaughtering mercilessly couldn't hold it back. And Gaekwad came under aggressive attack. He was continuously hit on the gloves and other body parts. He fell on the ground when a bouncer hit him on the ear and had to leave the field . These West Indian tactics didn't remain unnoticed to the Indian Captain Bishen Bedi and senior player Sunil Gavaskar. They were already under shock after witnessing the immense crowd pressure which had even mimed the Umpires. The crowd had chanted "Kill him" when Holding bowled to Gaekwad and they had actually cheered devilishly when the Indian player hit the ground. Bedi took it to protest and declared the innings at 306/6. He did so also to protect his players from the fiery bowlers.

West Indies batted well to get 391 in their first innings. During the second innings, Indian recorded a strong start but after losing the wickets of Amarnath, Madan Lal and Venkataraghavan quickly one by one, they somehow reached 97. At this point, Bedi made a wise decision of declaring the innings, leaving the West Indies with a formality of 13 runs' victory. Bishan Bedi was in no mood to further let his players get hurt after his 'five' were recorded retired hurt.

According to Michael Holding, "On that surface it was inevitable that some batsmen would be hit against such a pace-based attack as ours, especially as we adopted the tactic of bowling round the wicket, aiming the ball at their bodies. In his autobiography, "Sunny Days" Sunil Gavaskar had mentioned, "To call the crowd a crowd in Kingston is a misnomer,” “It should be called a mob… The way they shrieked and howled every time Holding bowled was positively horrible".

Interestingly, Instead of taking 20 wickets to win in a test match, West Indies had to take only 11 wickets to win the series 2-1. Whether do away with it or not, this 'Bloodbath' has got recorded in the history of Cricket forever.


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