May 22, 2002

West Indies seal series 2-1 with tremendous win at Jamaica

Despite overnight rain delaying the start of the final day's play, the result was a foregone conclusion. The last rites were eventually played out, the West Indies dismissed India for 252 and won the Test by 155 runs. With it, they win the series 2-1.

The first man to be dismissed was Ajay Ratra. As expected, West Indies took the second new ball first thing in the morning. After surviving a loud shout for lbw against Cameron Cuffy, Ratra eventually perished in that very fashion. Although the ball was traveling down the leg-side, umpire Russell Tiffin upheld the appeal. Ratra was dismissed for 19, helping to add five runs to India's overnight score of 237.

Javagal Srinath has not inspired much confidence with the bat all series, and the poor run continued. Spending an awkward time at the crease bobbing, weaving and fending in ungainly fashion, Srinath eventually gave Cuffy his second wicket of the day. A ball pitched just outside the off ducking in at the last moment. Srinath, moving away to the leg side as he has done to anything that is pitched slightly short, heard the death rattle as leather hit timber.

Ashish Nehra, coming in at number 11, did his best to defend in the hope of prolonging the innings as much as possible. With some clouds in the horizon, there was a possibility of rain. To ask the last man to defend forever is not realistic, however. Nehra did have a wild heave every now and then.

Zaheer Khan beat his fellow paceman back to the pavilion, though. Fittingly it was Merv Dillon who took the last wicket to fall. Zaheer Khan (12) slogged Dillon to Pedro Collins at cover and it was all over. Dillon ended with 23 wickets in the series.

The West Indies did a lap of honour around the ground - something the fans appreciated tremendously. India's hopes of winning a series outside the subcontinent will have to wait for another day. They tour England next, and that will be a stern test.

For the moment, though, it is the end of this series, one that has been exciting all the way. After being 0-1 down in the series, the West Indies came back strongly. The wickets at Guyana and Antigua did nothing to help achieve results, and the matches there were understandably drawn. India did well to win at Port-of-Spain but were below par at Barbados and here at Jamaica.

There were many contenders for the Man of the Series award - Shivnarine Chanderpaul with his invaluable contribution of 562 runs at 140-plus, Carl Hooper with 579 runs at 82.71, Rahul Dravid with 404 runs at over 55 a knock, and finally Dillon with 23 wickets at less than 30 apiece.

The adjudicating panel, consisting of both coaches - John Wright and Roger Harper - and commentators Michael Holding and Sunil Gavaskar chose Chanderpaul for the honour. None will grudge him that. When India were last in the West Indies in 1997, Chanderpaul won this award. Once more he drives away a nice car.

For his first-innings century and sharp close catches, Wavell Hinds was awarded the Man of the Match award.