The West Indies [ Images ] batsmen, led by young Darren Bravo, showed gritty resistance to eke out a draw against India [ Images ] in the second Test at the Kensington Oval, on Saturday, thus keeping alive hopes of levelling the series.
Chasing a competitive target of 281, the hosts were 202 for seven when umpires Ian Gould and Asad Rauf decided that the light wasn't good enough to continue, although 10.3 mandatory overs were still left to be bowled.
Bravo's innings of 73 turned out to be a match-saving effort despite a lion-hearted showing by man-of-the-match Ishant Sharma [ Images ] (4-53), who finished with a match haul of ten wickets for 108 runs.
Barring Ishant, none of the other Indian bowlers looked incisive, as Bravo played them with ease, hitting eight boundaries. By the time he was dismissed, he made sure that the home team had little chance of losing the match.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's [ Images ] sporting declaration at 269 for six promised an exciting final day, as he allowed his bowlers 83 overs to take 10 West Indies wickets. The home team never tried to make a match of it after losing two quick wickets in the opening session.
The visitors sniffed victory in the final session when the quick dismissals of seasoned pros Shivnarine Chanderpaul [ Images ] (12) and Marlon Samuels (9) reduced the home team to 132 for five.
But wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh (46 not out) counter-attacked and put paid to any hopes the Indians harboured.
India lead the series 1-0. The two teams now head to Dominica for the third Test, starting July 6.
The West Indies were 181 for 5 in the final session, needing another 100 from 18.3 overs, or 111 balls remaining in the match, when the heavens opened up, sending the players back to the confines of the dressing room.
The match did resume after 32 minutes, and only one over was lopped off. But there was more drama in store. Within three balls of resumption, Dhoni summoned the two umpires about the water that had spilled to the edge of the square while the covers were being removed.
Another 15 minutes were spent in the mopping up operation, with even eager Indian players picking up the sawdust to get the game going. No further overs were reduced but what these two interruptions ensured was that bad light, sooner than later, would come into play.
Dhoni brought in his two best bowlers, Ishant and Praveen, to force the issue. After a couple of overs from both didn't work, he tossed the ball to Mithun, who promptly obliged with the wicket of Bravo.
Ishant then got his 10th wicket, dismissing Darren Sammy (0) with a yorker that caught him plumb.
The two umpires now conferred, another delivery from Ishant was bowled to new-man Ravi Rampaul, before play was finally called off.
To cap off the bizarre proceedings, the ground was bathed in sunshine for the next half an hour!
From the 18.3 overs of possible play before rain, only seven overs could be bowled. In all, six hours and 12 minutes of play was lost in the match.
Before the rain cruelly intervened, Baugh (46) entertained the crowd with some lusty hitting raising visions of an improbable West Indies win.
Earlier, save Ishant (2/28), none of the other Indian bowlers impressed in the post-lunch session when they looked like going through the motions. The disappointing aspect was seniormost bowler Harbhajan Singh's [ Images ] inability to provide the decisive breakthrough. Harbhajan got appreciable bounce but couldn't produce the desired results.
Dhoni showed a lot of positive intent while making a sporting declaration at 269 for six. VVS Laxman [ Images ] was again unlucky to miss out on a three-figure mark, as Fidel Edwards [ Images ] (5/76) dismissed him for 87.
The best part about Dhoni's captaincy was the timing of the declaration. The target was such that any team would have been tempted to chase, especially the West Indies, one down in the series.
Simmons pushed at a fuller delivery from Ishant, offering a simple catch to Rahul Dravid [ Images ] in first slip.
Sarwan, who is in danger of losing his Test spot, hit a boundary, but tried to cut a Praveen delivery when he wasn't offered any room. The resultant slash was taken by Suresh Raina [ Images ] in thrid slip, reducing the West Indies to 27 for two.
Earlier, the visitors too were a bit ruffled by the second new ball which the West Indies claimed early in the morning.
Resuming at their overnight score of 229 for 3, India lost three wickets to paceman Fidel Edwards (5/76) as they added another 40 runs.
Edwards worked up a blistering pace and got his bunny Virat Kohli [ Images ] (27), who tried to steer a rising delivery into the hands of second slip.
Kohli could add only one run to his overnight score. May be the disappointment of being axed from the Test team played on his mind.
Laxman missed out on a three-figure mark when he casually jabbed at a delivery away from his body, providing an easy catch to Darren Sammy in second slip.
It was another fantastic effort from the Hyderabadi stylist as he played close to four-and-a-half hours, facing 188 deliveries in the process.
Dhoni (5) continued with his wretched form in the series as he drove Edwards uppishly into the hands of the mid-off fielder.
Suresh Raina (12 not out) and Harbhajan Singh (6 not out) threw their bats at bouncing deliveries but connected few as Dhoni decided that it was time for his bowlers to get into action.
Edwards bowled an outstanding spell of 6-0-18-3 in the morning for a five-wicket haul, the ninth of his career.