India’s Victory in West Indies
Here, he went on to score 132 runs in the match, acquiring for India the first ever test victory over the West Indies. In the fifth test match of the series, Gavaskar scored 124 and 220 runs in both innings, helping India to secure the first test series win over the West Indies, which was not repeated for a period of 35 years to come till the year 2006.
Tour to England in 1971
Gavaskar's tour of England in 1971 was a most eventful one. On the one hand, he was unable to maintain his performance, making only two half centuries in the entire series. Also, the match was rife with problems due to the due to a collision between Gavaskar and John Snow, when the former was trying to take a quick single off the bowling of the latter. It happened in the first test at Lord's on the final day when India were chasing 182 for victory. They collided and Gavaskar fell over. Snow was suspended.
Tour to England in 1972-73
The next round of international cricket was in 1972-73, when England was touring India for a five test series. This was Gavaskar's first test on Home ground. He was not too effective in the first three tests, getting only sixty runs in five innings as India took a 2-1 lead. He scored some runs in the final two Tests which India drew to complete consecutive series wins over England. His first home series was largely disappointing, aggregating 224 runs at 24.89. When India returned in 1974, Gavaskar scored 101 and 58 in the First Test at Old Trafford. He managed 227 runs at 37.83, thereby placating the English critics with his performance.
The 1974-75 test series marked the beginning of a record streak of 106 test appearances by Gavaskar. In this test match, Gavaskar played an interrupted series. He played only in the first and the fifth and final test of the series against the West Indies. He scored 108 runs at 27, with an 86 at Mumbai.
The next season was in 1975-76. It was now, when for the first time Gavaskar led India in a test match series. The season comprised three tests in New Zealand and four tests in the West Indies. In 1976 during the New Zealand tour, regular captain Bishen Singh Bedi was suffering from a leg injury. So the first test in Auckland was led by Sunil Gavaskar as captain. Despite having scored only 703 runs at 28.12 since his debut series, Gavaskar did justice to the decision of the selectors by scoring 116 and 35 not out. Consequently, India secured an eight wicket victory. Gavaskar ended the series with 266 runs at 66.33. Bedi returned to lead in the second Test at Lancaster Park (Christchurch). Bad weather seriously interfered with the match and it was drawn. Gavaskar scored only 22 in India's total of 270. Batting slowly, the Kiwis replied with 403 for a sizable lead of 133. India however saved the match with Gavaskar contributing a useful 71 and Vishwanath 79. India suffered a humiliating defeat at Basin Reserve (Wellington) in the final Test and shared the series. India, batting first, made 220, Gavaskar's contribution being 22. The home side replied with 334. During the innings, Gavaskar was hurt. Fielding close-in, he was hit as Lance Cairns pulled and his right cheekbone was fractured. He did not bat in the second innings, which was India's poorest against New Zealand. The Indians were mesmerised by Richard Hadlee (7 for 23) and were shot out for 81. This was New Zealand's first ever innings win.
Consecutive Centuries by Sunil Gavaskar
In West Indies, Sunil Gavaskar scored consecutive centuries of 156 and 102 in the Second and Third Tests, both in Port of Spain, Trinidad. These centuries were his third and fourth at the grounds. In the third innings, he built up a total of 102 runs, helping India to make 4/406, a world record for the highest winning fourth innings score. The Indians' victory by way of mastery of the Caribbean spinners on a turning track reportedly led West Indian captain Clive Lloyd to vow that he would rely on pace alone in future Tests. Gavaskar totaled 390 runs at 55.71 for the series.
Sunil Gavaskar in Australia Tour
The Australia tour came in 1977-78. Here, he scored three consecutive Test centuries (113, 127, and 118) in the second innings of the first three Tests at Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne respectively. India won the third but lost the earlier two. He finished the Five Test series with 450 runs at 50, failing twice as India lost the final Test and the series 3-2.
India’s Visit to Pakistan
A historic match in was seen in 1978-79 in the form of the India tour of Pakistan. It was the first test series between the arch rivals in over seventeen years. Gavaskar went on to score 97 in the second test, which India drew and lost respectively. Gavaskar saved his best for the Third Test in Karachi, scoring 111 and 137 in the Third, but was unable to prevent a defeat and series loss. His twin centuries made him the first Indian to score two centuries in one Test on two occasions, and saw him pass Polly Umrigar as India's leading Test run scorer. Gavaskar had finished the series with 447 runs at 89.40.
Tour to Australia
In 1985-86, India toured Australia, playing against a team in a poor form slump. India was unable to capitalise as all three Tests were drawn. Sunil Gavaskar however was able to cash in on their poor form. He scored an unbeaten 166 in the First Test in Adelaide and 172 in the Third Test in Sydney, ending the series with 352 runs at 117.33.
Test Tour of England
A three Test tour of England saw him score only 185 runs at 30.83, which India won 2-0 despite his low productivity.
Test Career of Gavaskar in International
Gavaskar's final season in test cricket came in 1986-87, when India faced a long series of eleven home tests. Gavaskar made 90 in the second innings of the First Test in Chennai, giving India a chance of reach the target of 348, which ended in a tie. He scored 103 in the Third Test in Mumbai to end the series with 205 runs at 51.66. The First Test against Sri Lanka in Kanpur saw Gavaskar's 34th and final Test century of 176. He scored 74 and 5 in the next two Tests as India won the three match series 2-0.
Test Series in Pakistan
The five Test series against Pakistan was to be his last. Gavaskar scored 91 in the drawn First Test in Madras before withdrawing from the Second Test in Calcutta as he had promised. In the Fourth Test in Ahmedabad, Sunil Gavaskar's 63 made him the first batsman to pass 10,000 runs. With the teams locked 0-0 leading into the final Test in Bengaluru, there was to be no fairytale. Gavaskar was dismissed for 96 in the second innings as India were bowled out to give Pakistan a 1-0 series win.
The International cricket career of Sunil Gavaskar forms quite an expansive list. He has performed in a record number of test matches- an unprecedented 106 test matches- making him the first Indian cricketer to do so.
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International Career of Sunil Gavaskar