Tour review

West Indies vs India, 2019

Barry Wilkinson

Twenty20 internationals (3): West Indies 0, India 3
One-day internationals (3): West Indies 0, India 2
Test matches (2): West Indies 0 (0pts), India 2 (120pts)

Less than a year earlier, West Indies had been brushed aside on the subcontinent; back on home soil, they were on the receiving end of another drubbing. India were in cruise control, while West Indies hardly landed a blow - victory over England at the start of the year felt like a distant memory.

For India there was a long list of pluses: they shot to the top of the World Test Championship, Virat Kohli became their most successful captain, Jasprit Bumrah bowled magnificently, and they seemed to have found a new batting star in Hanuma Vihari, who averaged 93 in the Tests. While Kohli celebrated, his opposite number Jason Holder called for wholesale reform of West Indies' domestic structure. "It's not one or two individuals that need to find solutions," he said. "It's the collective Cricket West Indies."

West Indies had not won a Test series against India since 2002, and at no point did they look like improving on that record: both matches were in the top ten of India's biggest away wins by runs. With victory in the First Test, Kohli eased past Sourav Ganguly as India's most successful captain overseas; in the Second, he went beyond M. S. Dhoni's overall record of 27 Test wins. "It's a by-product of a quality team," he said. "If we didn't have these bowlers, I don't think the results would have been possible."

Before the First Test, Sunil Gavaskar questioned the wisdom of leaving out Ravichandran Ashwin, but such was the potency of the pace attack he was not missed. Bumrah took 13 wickets at nine-including India's third Test hat-trick - and had complete mastery over the batsmen. He now had five-wicket hauls in Australia, England, South Africa and the West Indies, a unique feat among Indian bowlers.

The hosts struggled to find any crumbs of comfort. Their batting returns were pitifully low: Holder was their leading run-scorer, with 104 at 26. He also bowled well - eight wickets at 22 - but the stand-out performer was Kemar Roach, who took nine at 22, troubled the best batsmen, and was singled out by Holder for his hostility and commitment.

The white-ball matches at the start of the tour had offered both teams the chance to shake off disappointing World Cups. In the Twenty20 series, India gave a debut to Navdeep Saini and a second outing to Deepak Chahar, both of whom had shone in the IPL, and they produced encouraging performances.

The ODIs were dominated by Kohli, who collected his 42nd and 43rd centuries, and overhauled Sourav Ganguly to become India's second-highest one-day run-scorer, behind Sachin Tendulkar. Chris Gayle, meanwhile, moved past Brian Lara to go top of the West Indian list, though his future remained in doubt. Evin Lewis was comfortably West Indies' top-scorer, with 148.

© John Wisden & Co