Young opener Abhinav Mukund was crestfallen to miss out on an opportunity to score a century after his patient 62 laid the foundation of India's first innings during the third day of the final cricket Test at Windsor Park.
"I am really disappointed. After doing all the hard work when the ball was swinging in the morning, I tried to stick on and then got out to a ball, I must not have got out to many a times," said an earnest Mukund whose 62 laid the foundation of India's strong reply to West Indies total of 204 all out.
Mukund tried to flick a delivery from spinner Devendra Bishoo which rose from a length and took the edge of his bat to go into the hands of forward short leg fielder.
"The first two tracks had a lot of bounce. This one, frankly, looked like an Indian wicket to me," he said.
"But still planting your feet and playing out forward took a lot of effort. But then I started trusting the wicket and could go forward a lot more than in Barbados." A feature of Mukund's batting on Friday was his backfoot play and the way he handled short-pitched bowling.
"I have played a lot on matting wicket while I was growing up. My dad always told me that a lot of deliveries in international cricket are short so I practiced and can play short-bowling much better." While Mukund has has moved up the ladder, his friend and fellow opener Murali Vijay is having a wretched series and once again got dismissed for one.
"It's disappointing that he's been struggling a little bit. We are good friends off the field and knowing him, he doesn't allow much to affect him. It's amazing how cricketers can go through ups and downs," Mukund said.
Mukund also felt for VVS Laxman who hit his third straight half-century against the West Indies but failed to convert anyone of them into a hundred.
"He was very disappointed. He has now hit three half centuries in a row. I haven't seen that kind of dismissal and a lot of us even thought if it was legal," he said.
Laxman was dismissed when he let a leg-spin from Shivnarine Chanderpaul go into the gloves of wicketkeeper Calrton Baugh. He then lifted his leg mindlessly and Baugh, sensing an opportunity, removed the bails that very instant.
India didn't bat with extra freedom in the final session even though the West Indies were running ragged in the field with injuries and sapping heat.
"It might have looked so from the outside since the part-timers were bowling but a lot of those deliveries were outside the off-stump. There were not many run-scoring opportunities," Mukund said. The 21-year-old feels, weather permitting, India should go on to win the third and final Test over the next two days.
"We are leading by 104 runs which actually is 150-160 runs because of the (heavy) outfield. We hope wicket is roughing up and weather permitting, and the ball turning more, we should enforce a win over the next two days," he said.