May 5, 2002

Little hope for India

Mike King

India are down and almost out and even their most ardent supporters have acknowledged that the fat lady is rehearsing her song.

Faced with a first innings deficit of 292, India were staring defeat in the face at stumps at 169 for four, with their two leading batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid back in the pavilion and two days still left in this crucial third Test at Kensington Oval.

Software engineer, Suvankar, an Indian supporter in the Garfield Sobers Stand, admits it's only a matter of time before the West Indies wrap up the match and square the series 1-1.

It's a four-day match. There is no-way out. We really needed to do much better on the first day, he said.

Biggest sport

Atul Shrivastava, who hails from the central Indian city of Bhopal, screamed himself hoarse when India reached 100 with just one wicket down, but his shoulders drooped when the West Indies prised out Dravid and Tendulkar.

Now, we need a miracle. Those wickets of Dravid and Tendulkar were big ones and really hurt.

Cricket is by far, the biggest sport in India and for us, this is heart-breaking. It is shattering, he said.

Tendulkar, the son of a professor, is a cricketing icon in India and there was a hush in the Hall & Griffith Stand among the Indian posse when Merv Dillon removed the 29-year-old master batsman for his third straight low score.

When Dillon completed the over and took his place on the boundary line in front of the Three Ws Stand, he was warmly greeted by exuberant Trinidadian compatriots, unable to contain their delight.

Dillon was not the only one to have West Indian fans cheering yesterday. Carl Hooper finally collected his first Test hundred in Barbados to the delight of his legion of fans here while Chanderpaul reached his fourth Test ton, all made on Caribbean soil.

Its really great to see Hooper make a Test hundred here. I have waited many years for this. I enjoy seeing him bat, remarked one female fan.

It was only Hooper's 12th Test hundred in his 95th Test and marked the first time he has scored 400 runs in a series.