It has to be the greatest pair making their international debut in the same match. That is what the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore (now Bengaluru) witnessed on the 22nd of November, 1974! It was the first Test of the series between hosts India and the Clive Lloyd led West Indies. It was the first time that the world would see Gordon Greenidge and Vivian Richards in whites for the West Indies.
Greenidge had a dream start and went on to register a 93 and 107 in his first two innings in Test cricket – his aggregate of 200 runs in the match remains the joint 10th highest on debut in the history of Test cricket! And the second-highest for a West Indian batsman after Lawrence Rowe.
Richards, on the other hand, did not give any hint of what was in store in the years to come – he fell to the Indian leg break maverick, Bhagwath Chandrasekhar in both the innings scoring a total of 7 runs (4 and 3) in the match.
The match itself was evenly balanced after the first innings with India replying with 260 to West Indies’ total of 289. But the visitors hammered 356 in the second innings setting India an improbable 386 for a win. The home team folded for 118.
Greenidge went on to aggregate 7558 runs in 108 Tests and at an average of 44.72 including 19 hundreds and is regarded as one of the greatest and most destructive openers in the history of Test cricket.
Richards had an aggregate of 8540 in 121 Tests at an average of 50.23 and his exploits included 24 hundreds. He had a strike rate of around 70 in Test cricket and is widely regarded as the most destructive and ruthless batsman in the history of international cricket.
Greenidge and Richards dominated the best bowling attacks in the world for the most part of 15 years between 1975 and 1990 and were an integral part of the world beating West Indies side that was undefeated in Test cricket (in a series) from June 1980 to March 1995.
Such was their dominance and effect that West Indies never lost a Test in which Greenidge scored a hundred and lost just two in which Richards reached three figures.
It all started on that winter day in Bengaluru!