If there was a man-of-the-match award for India's 1976 win over West Indies at Port of Spain, it would have gone to Gundappa Vishwanath for his 112. In the words of Tony Cozier, the voice of West Indies cricket, "Vishwanath looked a complete batsman with an exciting array of shots which he was never afraid to unleash. It was Vishwanath, who was unrelentingly severe on Holding and Julien," wrote Cozier in Sportsweek's World of Cricket.
Flashback: When India grew up at Port of Spain in 1976
As for Vishwanath, the 1976 Trinidad win was not just a great triumph for Indian cricket, it was a great moment in international cricket. "What we achieved was rare. The last time a side chased 400-plus to win a Test was Bradman's team in 1948," Bangalore-based Vishwanath told mid-day yesterday. The great batsman said that they didn't start off thinking it was possible. In fact, when Sunil Gavaskar was dismissed for 102 (his fourth Test ton at Trinidad), the prime objective of Vishwanath and Mohinder Amarnath was to defend and not lose wickets.
Vishwanath walked in at 177 for two. "Sunil and Anshuman put on a useful 69. Then Jimmy and myself had a good partnership (159) which was followed by some good batting by Brijesh Patel (49 not out). We only accelerated once Clive Lloyd took the new ball. That's when the runs started flowing and that made us fancy our chances. It was a very fine victory," said Vishwanath, who seemed to concur with Cozier's assessment that his two square cuts off Holding were absolutely unforgettable.