Ian Bishop: Harbhajan may just be hitting form for England
Former West Indies bowling ace Ian Bishop says had it not been for the rain, and the number of overs lost in Barbados, India would have beaten the West Indies 2-0 in the Test series.
Should MS Dhoni be pleased or disappointed at the end of this Test series?
I believe that he should be really pleased with the 1-0 result. There are folk that are going to say #1 playing #7 should be three-nil. Well, had it not been for the rain, and the number of overs lost in Barbados, it, more than likely, would have been at least 2-0.
This Dominica Test would have gone India's way with time as well, but I would have to compliment the West Indies for the way they battled to limit India in the first innings to 347.
With the absence of Ravi Rampaul throughout that innings, the remaining bowlers had to dig deep and they did it very well.
They kept attacking India and it really paid off, emphasizing that the team has a very good bowling unit that can only get stronger in future with the likes of Roach and Andre Russell and a young pace-man called Shannon Gabriel waiting in the wings.
I must admit that I was a little surprised that India did close up shop once Suresh Raina's wicket fell at 86-3. I assumed that Laxman and Dravid would just keep ticking the score over for a bit longer without too much risk.
Image: MS Dhoni
Dhoni's seemed an overly cautious decision
Given the gamble Dhoni took in setting the West Indies 281 in 83 overs in Barbados, it seemed an overly cautious decision here.
His thinking probably was that in Barbados he was hoping to close off the series with a win with one Test to go, not knowing what would happen in Dominica, or what pitch would be produced there.
On this occasion he would win the series without risk, so why take any. I want to give him the benefit of good judgment because he has been an excellent captain for India in all forms of the game.
He has almost always been cool and calculating in his strategy and deserves the benefit of any doubt right now.
It probably speaks to the impressive way the West Indies have bowled, especially to the lower middle order since Harbhajan's assault at Sabina.
Image: MS Dhoni
Harbhajan may just be hitting form at the right time
Speaking of Harbhajan, he bowled a lot better in this match and could have had more than the four wickets he took in the second innings. He hasn't been absolutely at his best throughout the series but has gotten better with each outing. He may just be hitting form at the right time for England.
He will need to remember that bowlers around the world have seen his discomfort against the short-ball and they won't be shy of reminding him so he will have to work on that as he is now important in that lower middle order.
The West Indies will rue their missed opportunities in the first Test, because it gave India momentum which only served to build as the series went on. While the batting is the main issue for them, it is also a note that they continue to give away crucial moments in early games of a series.
The series has not produced spectacular run rates, for one reason or another the pitches in the series have been a good mix. There was plenty for the bowlers in Barbados and enough for everyone in Jamaica. Windsor Park can be excused this time around for being a bit slower than ideal because it is their first attempt at preparing a surface for a Test match and that, of course, means five days as opposed to four days for first cl-ass cricket.
The ground staff feels that they need to keep more grass on the surface to give it some more pace, and that is a fair acknowledgement by them. They are a hardworking and honest group. Nevertheless, there would have been a result here as well had it not been for the rain. And what you want is a mixture of pitches in the different territories, so that different skills come to the fore. Here it was the batman's turn and there is not too much wrong with that.
What cannot be debated is the passion and love that the people of this lovely island have for cricket. They turned out in numbers over the weekend and gave this match the type of atmosphere it deserved.
While Test match crowds in the region have dwindled in the more established territories, Dominica has shown that there is still a core of people who are still enamored with the game.
By arrangement with Quba Media Works
Image: Harbhajan Singh