IND vs WI – 3rd Test Match: Inspired India surge to series triumph


August 14, 2016

Brief Scorecard: India 353 (Ashwin 118, Saha 104, Cummins 3-54) and 217 for 7 decl. (Rahane 78*, Cummins 6-48) beat West Indies 225 (Brathwaite 64, Bhuvneshwar 5-33) and 108 (Bravo 59, Shami 3-15) by 237 runs

August 14, 2016

Brief Scorecard: India 353 (Ashwin 118, Saha 104, Cummins 3-54) and 217 for 7 decl. (Rahane 78*, Cummins 6-48) beat West Indies 225 (Brathwaite 64, Bhuvneshwar 5-33) and 108 (Bravo 59, Shami 3-15) by 237 runs

Indian walking back after a 2-0 series win, West Indies v India, 3rd Test, Gros Islet, 5th day, August 13, 2016 – AFP

ST. LUCIA – The end, when it came, was rather tame for what was a historic day in Indian cricket history. On 11 tours to the Caribbean stretching back as far as 1952-53, India had never won more than one Test per visit. The 12th time was the charm as West Indies folded for only 108, handing India a thumping 237-run win.

If the series began with heightened expectations, the moment it was sealed – India now have an unassailable 2-0 lead with the final Test left to be played in Port of Spain – was anticlimactic. There was no frenzy of players rushing around trying to grab souvenir stumps, no crazed celebrations on wild whoops of euphoria. India were ruthless, clinical and got the job done with an emphatic bowling performance.

India began Saturday’s (August 13) final day in a strong position, and even a pair of umpiring blunders could not halt their inexorable march to victory. Rohit Sharma was given out lbw after he hit the cover off the ball and Wriddhiman Saha was caught behind off a giant no-ball from Miguel Cummins. In the first instance, the umpire did not detect the edge. In the second, even when the official was alerted to the possibility of a breach of the front crease, he waved the batsman off, convinced that the right call had been made.

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In the event, the runs India added were only academic, Ajinkya Rahane being unbeaten on a typically polished 71 as India declared on 217 for 7 after having begun the day on 157 for 3, leaving West Indies with a notional target of 346 from 87 overs.

India’s task was simple, if not straightforward — find a way to take 10 wickets. In Kingston, after a day was lost to rain, and India’s momentum completely sucked away, an easing pitch meant the bowlers struggled even to prise out two wickets as West Indies’ batsmen applied themselves.

There was no such trouble here, Mohammed Shami steaming in, the force clearly with him. Getting the ball through to the ’keeper at pace, carrying through well over shoulder height, Shami bombed out Leon Johnson, Rohit taking a sharp catch at short-leg with only 4 on the board.

Darren Bravo played close to his body early on, surviving a thorough working over from Shami to get into a phase of solid batting, but support at the other end was virtually non-existent. Kraigg Brathwaite got a beauty from Bhuvneshwar Kumar that shaped in and straightened perfectly after pitching, nailing the batsman in front of the stumps.

Marlon Samuels got himself out in a manner that is scarcely believable at this level. The basic tenets of Test match batting are covering the stumps and being ready to press forward to either defend or drive, in the full knowledge that it is easier to adjust and then go onto the back foot if the ball is too short, rather than the other way around. What Samuels did was hang on the back foot, play with bat far away from the body, at an angle, inviting the bowler to attack the stumps. Ishant Sharma produced a beautiful inducker, nipping back neatly off the fifth-day pitch at the Darren Sammy Stadium and did not so much disturb the timber, as the saying goes, but flatten it with an axe.

Roston Chase, the hero of the Kingston siege that West Indies survived to eke out a draw, could not produce an encore. A full, quick inswinger from Ishant left the batsman late on the shot, and once again the bat-pad gap was more than sufficient to allow the ball untrammeled passage to the stumps.

Jermaine Blackwood was whisked away to the pavilion before he could cause serious damage, an attempted booming drive off Ravindra Jadeja and the resultant overbalancing giving Wriddhiman Saha enough time to whip off the bails and reduce West Indies to 68 for 5.

Bravo was good enough to resist for nearly three hours, but with none of his mates crossing 12, and seven not even making it to double figures, the end was never far away. During the lunch interval, the West Indies Cricket Board showed off the latest installment of their Kiddy Cricket Program, in which children of all ages are invited onto the ground to play some tennis-ball cricket, watching their heroes before and after, presumably so that they will be inspired to take up the game. Jason Holder, himself a product of the program, seemed to have the wrong end of the stick, the West Indies team playing kiddy cricket, taking a leaf out of carefree swishing of the kids they were meant to inspire. Wild slogs, tragicomic run outs, the tail pulled out all stops, crashing and burning, and only managing to get the team total past the century mark thanks to 11, the third highest score of the innings, from Shannon Gabriel, the No. 11. Bundled out for 108, West Indies had handed India the win they so desperately wanted, and with it the series.

Courtesy: Wisden India