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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Windies snatch thrilling draw in final Test

Windies snatch thrilling draw in final Test

Last updated on: November 26, 2011 17:49 IST

The third and final Test between India and West Indies at the Wankhede ended in a thrilling last-ball draw on Saturday, with the home team falling only one run short of their target.

- Scorecard

Chasing 243 to win, and complete their first ever whitewash against West Indies, India could manage 242 for nine.

The hosts had already clinched the series following wins in the opening two Tests. 

After two one-sided matches, there was finally a match that went down to the wire. As they say, this was what Test cricket is all about.

It was something of a rarity in Indian conditions. If Day Four was all about the disappointment of Sachin Tendulkar falling six runs short of a 'century of centuries,' the fifth day was all about hope.

To start with the West Indies batsmen committed what can be termed a 'mass suicide.'

To the quintessential fan of the home team it might just read pleasant to mention it was the Indian bowlers who put them to sword.

Whichever way you look at it, the morning session on Saturday gave a refreshing twist to a match that seemed destined to end in a vapid draw. It was a draw alright, but a far interesting one than it promised at the start of the day.

Likewise, the Indian batsmen and the West Indies bowlers did what their respective counterparts had done.

It was the two spinners Indian spinners, Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin, who ensured the turnaround, picking up four wickets apiece on the day.

On the wicket that offered considerable turn the spinners ripped apart the West Indies batting line up, the visitors losing their last eight wickets for the addition of just 43 runs.

With West Indies being bowled out for just 134, India required 243 to win the Test and seal their first whitewash over their rivals.

MS DhoniThe home team made a mess of the chase, losing wickets at regular intervals. And what seemed an easy target to begin with proved to be an impossible task at the end.

There were substantial contributions from Virat Kohli (63) and Virender Sehwag (60). In the final analysis though, no batsman displayed the most important virtue needed to win such close games -- patience.

It the end it was a fair result. The West Indies didn't deserve to lose this Test, especially considering the effort they put in to defend what seemed a modest target.

The Indian innings got off to a disastrous start when Gautam Gambhir (11) hit an Edwards' delivery straight to Sammy at point in what was only the fifth over of the Indian second innings.

Sehwag and Rahul Dravid (31) put on 82 runs for the second wicket, steadying the ship considerably before the Sehwag's departure started a mini slide.

Sehwag survived thrice during his 65-ball knock, inclusive of eight boundaries.

However, his inclination to offer fortune a fresh challenge led to his dismissal, his attempted reverse-paddle (off Bishoo) was gratefully accepted by Sammy at short fine leg. The Caribbeans thus, didn't have to pay heavily for their three blemishes.

In came Sachin Tendulkar, with India needing 142 to win. However, his managed to play just seven balls before Samuels had him caught by Kirk Edwards at short midwicket. The Master managed just three runs.

A few overs later, Samuels struck again, having Dravid caught by Denesh Ramdin (sub) at deep midwicket.

VVS Laxman (31) and Kohli did some repair work, putting on a valuable 52 runs for the fifth wicket, before a momentary lapse of concentration cost the former his wicket -- Rampaul having him caught by Adrian Barath at mid-on.

India required 78 to win at that stage, from 9.3 overs and the mandatory last hour.

MS Dhoni (13) didn't survive long either, Rampaul having him caught by Kirk Edwards at short cover.

Kohli though kept his cool, reaching his second straight half century of the match with a single off Samuels. Ashwin helped him to put 35 runs for the seventh wicket.

However, with India needing only 19 to win, Kohli hit a Bishoo delivery straight to Sammy. The 23-year-old's 114-ball innings was inclusive of three hits to the fence and one over it.

Ishant Sharma (10) was cleaned up by Rampaul, the latter's third wicket of the innings, with just four required.

India needed two runs to win off the final ball. However, in the attempting the same Ashwin (14) was run out.

Earlier, resuming at their overnight score of 81 for two, West Indies had added only 10 runs to their total when the slide started.  

Ojha, who had taken both the Caribbean wickets to fall on the fourth day, provided India its first breakthrough in the fifth morning as well.

The left-arm spinner had Kraigg Brathwaite (35) caught by Tendulkar at point in what was the fifth over of the morning.

Brathwaite's dismissal ended a 61-run stand for the third wicket (with Darren Bravo) that had given some much-needed solidity to the West Indian second innings.

In his seventh over of the morning Ojha made a double breakthrough, first catching Bravo off his own bowling and then having Marlon Samuels stumped for a four-ball duck, the latter helping him complete his second five-wicket haul of the series (and of his career as well).

Bravo top-score with 48, his 105-ball innings inclusive of five boundaries. However, his dismissal was a crucial blow for the visitors and led to a procession of wickets.

Aswhin, who had figures of five for 156 in the first essay, joined the party soon after, first cleaning up Carlton Baugh (1) and then trapping Kieran Powell (11) plumb in front.

Ojha completed a career-best haul (six for 47) by having Ravi Rampaul (0) caught by Tendulkar at deep square. The 25-year-old finished with 20 wickets in the three-match series.

Ashwin polished the tail by dismissing Darren Sammy (10) and Devendra Bishoo (0) in successive to finish with figures of four for 34 (match-figures nine for 190) to go with his 103 in the Indian first innings. No prizes for guessing he was awarded the man-of-the-match.

The 25-year-old's 22 wickets in what was his maiden Test series also ensured him the player-of-the-series honour. Again, no surprises in this case as well.

Bikash Mohapatra
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