Dramatic stalemate marks end of series

West Indies salvage draw in a nail-biting finish

Dramatic stalemate marks end of series

The final day of the third Test had been expected to be a dull, dreary affair, even the Indian and West Indian players resigned to a tame finish. Instead, the Wankhede stadium played host to the most fascinating day’s cricket, wickets tumbling like nine pins and, with three deliveries left to play, all results very much possible.

Some might say India snatched a draw from the jaws of victory, others might say the West Indies did likewise because they didn’t hold their catches. Irrespective of, no one can deny that Saturday’s action was in the realms of the classic, a match being drawn with the scores level for only the second time in Test history.

Even though the West Indies were 189 runs to the good when play began, the only team with a realistic chance of winning was India. A crazy passage of play in the first session, when without warning the ball started turning and bouncing as if armed with a will of its own, reinforced that belief as the Caribbeans imploded for 81 for two to 134 all out.

Pragyan Ojha’s second five-for of the series and man of the match and series R Ashwin’s dream Test run left the hosts needing 243 for victory in a minimum of 64 overs, a tantalising target made slightly difficult by a tricky surface, especially for new batsmen.
India made a fist of the chase, but each time they appeared to be getting on top, they lost a wicket. In the end, it boiled down to three off the last over with the ninth-wicket pair of Ashwin and debutant Varun Aaron in the middle. Aaron missed the first three deliveries sent down by Fidel Edwards and scrambled a single off the fourth before Ashwin kept out the fifth to ensure there was no way India could lose.

Two off the last delivery with the field well spread was one too many for Ashwin, run out making only a token attempt at a second after bunting Edwards to substitute Denesh Ramdin at long-on. India finished at 242 for nine. Match drawn. Indeed!

Match drawn could have been less dramatically attained had the Caribbeans shown a little more character in the morning, especially considering they had amassed 590 in the first tilt. At the first hint of turn and bounce, the West Indians completely panicked, attempting outrageous strokes and leading Ojha (6/47) and Ashwin (4/34) to believe that Christmas had arrived a month early.

Only Darren Bravo, who topped 400 runs for the series, fell to a delivery deserving of a wicket, done in in the flight by Ojha and offering a return catch to the bowler. The rest committed hara-kiri, though Ashwin can claim a lot of credit for eliciting an expansive cover drive from Carlton Baugh early in his innings, the ball ripping off the surface to drive through the gate and rattle timber.

The West Indies lost their last seven wickets for 22 runs in 68 deliveries, Ojha and Ashwin – not introduced until the day’s 10th over – setting things up beautifully for the batsmen.

Till Virender Sehwag was in the middle, leading a charmed existence – he was dropped on six, 13 and 27 – India were on cruise mode despite Darren Sammy’s defensive fields. The skipper himself couldn’t bowl, troubled by knee and hamstring injuries, while leggie Devendra Bishoo was handicapped by a thigh strain, but Ravi Rampaul rose splendidly to the occasion and Marlon Samuels plugged away during an unchanged 25-over spell.
Sehwag and the in-form Rahul Dravid added 82 (62m, 88b) for the second wicket but India lost three for 12 in 31 deliveries, and a lot of the initiative. VVS Laxman and the ultra-impressive Virat Kohli, batting with the assurance of a 100-Test veteran, again brought India into the ascendancy by putting on 52, but on a yo-yoing day, India never found one batsman who could bat through to the end.

Amidst mounting tension, the battle of wits went on till the last delivery, the perfect draw a fair result. As was the 2-0 series scoreline, an indication of India’s overall supremacy even though the visitors had their moments.

SCORE BOARD

 WEST INDIES (I Innings): 590 all out
INDIA (I Innings): 482 all out
WEST INDIES (II Innings, O/n: 81/2):
Barath c Laxman b Ojha    3
(20m, 10b)
Brathwaite c Tendulkar b Ojha    35
(148m, 115b, 2x4)
K Edwards st Dhoni b Ojha    17
(26m, 24b, 3x4)
Bravo c & b Ojha    48
(131m, 105b, 5x4)
Powell lbw Ashwin    11
(45m, 29b)
Samuels st Dhoni b Ojha    0
(2m, 4b)
Baugh b Ashwin    1
(3m, 4b)
Sammy c Dhoni b Ashwin    10
(35m, 22b)
Rampaul c Tendulkar b Ojha    0
(10m, 14b)
F Edwards (not out)    2
(17m, 16b)
Bishoo lbw Ashwin    0
(1m, 1b)
Extras (B-3, LB-4)    7
Total (all out, 57.2 overs)    134
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Barath), 2-30 (K Edwards), 3-91 (Brathwaite), 4-112 (Bravo), 5-112 (Samuels), 6-117 (Baugh), 7-120 (Powell), 8-129 (Rampaul), 9-134 (Sammy).
Bowling: Ojha 27-5-47-6, Ishant 8-2-15-0, Aaron 4-0-23-0, Ashwin 15.2-0-34-4, Sehwag 2-0-3-0, Tendulkar 1-0-5-0.
INDIA (II Innings):
Gambhir c Sammy b F Edwards    12
(24m, 11b, 1x4)
Sehwag c Sammy b Bishoo    60
(87m, 65b, 8x4)
Dravid c (sub) Ramdin b Samuels    33
(83m, 49b, 1x4)
Tendulkar c K Edwards b Samuels    3
(6m, 7b)
Laxman c Barath b Rampaul    31
(65m, 53b, 1x4)
Kohli c Sammy b Bishoo    63
(136m, 114b, 3x4, 1x6)
Dhoni c K Edwards b Rampaul    13
(45m, 37b, 1x4)
Ashwin (run out)    14
(41m, 27b)
Ishant b Rampaul    10
(22m, 17b, 1x4)
Aaron (not out)    2
(10m, 5b)
Extras (NB-1)    1
Total (for 9 wkts, 64 overs)    242
Fall of wickets: 1-19 (Gambhir), 2-101 (Sehwag), 3-106 (Tendulkar), 4-113 (Dravid), 5-165 (Laxman), 6-189 (Dhoni), 7-224 (Kohli), 8-239 (Ishant), 9-242 (Ashwin).
Bowling: F Edwards 7-0-28-1 (nb-1), Ravi Rampaul 16-1-56-3, Marlon Samuels 25-0-93-2, Devendra Bishoo 16-0-65-2.

 

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