India [ Images ] scored a comprehensive five-wicket win in the first Test against the West Indies [ Images ] at the Ferozshah Kotla on Wednesday. The victory gave the hosts a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Chasing 276, India won shortly after lunch, having gone into the break with just 22 runs required.
It was Laxman's 55th half century in Tests, his 11th against the West Indies.
Sachin Tendulkar [ Images ] fell short of recording his 100th international ton, but not before putting India on the road to victory with a fluent 76.
Starting from his overnight score of 33, Tendulkar looked set to achieve the elusive feat before Devendra Bishoo spoilt his plans with a well-disguised googly, leaving over 10,000 spectators at the Kotla stadium stunned.
The champion batsman faced 148 deliveries and spent 201 minutes, 93 of them on Wednesday, during his stay at the crease. His knock was studded with 10 sweetly-timed hits to the fence.
Resuming at 152 for two, and needing another 124 runs with eight wickets in hand, India lost Rahul Dravid [ Images ] (31) early on the fourth day, but Tendulkar and Laxman guided the hosts to 233 with a 71-run partnership before disaster struck some time before the lunch break.
India were just 43 away from achieving a come-from-behind victory when Tendulkar made his way back to the dressing room.
Tendulkar, who had completed 15,000 runs in this form of the game on Tuesday, kickstarted the day on a positive not as he tucked Darren Sammy to the fine-leg boundary in the first over.
Fidel Edwards [ Images ], who dismissed the iconic batsman in the first innings, was not spared in the second as Tendulkar drove and cut him with elan.
Edwards gave the West Indies a glimmer of hope when he breached through Dravid's defence with the one that jagged in a long way on landing, but Tendulkar was in his elements from the word go. Slight width from Sammy outside off stump, and Tendulkar was quick to slash the West Indian skipper behind point, giving the third-man fielder no chance of cutting it down.
VVS Laxman, meanwhile, was dealing in boundaries against Fidel Edwards, not sparing anything that strayed down the leg. Tendulkar meted out similar treatment to Ravi Rampaul, collecting two boundaries, one through extra cover and another in front of deep square leg?off the bowler to take India within sniffing distance of victory.
Bowled out for 209 in their first innings, India conceded a vital 95-run lead to the visitors, but rode on off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin's six for 47 on debut to launch a strong comeback on Tuesday.
Swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag [ Images ] then provided the impetus to India's chase with a typically aggressive 55 in as many balls to help the hosts finish the third day at a strong position.