May 5, 2002

West Indies register thumping win at Barbados

With fans at the Kensington Oval in Barbados yelling for a quick West Indian victory on the fourth day, the Indian tail finally wagged. Just enough to make West Indies bat again and chase a `target' of five for victory. They duly did so, winning the match by 10 wickets and leveling the series 1-1 with two matches to play.

The day began with VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly going about the business of keeping the Windies at bay in earnest. They were, after all, the last recognised pair of batsmen in the Indian line-up.

Laxman, with Indian fans' hopes of a repeat of the Kolkata miracle in the air, added just 13 runs to his overnight score before being the first wicket to fall. Pedro Collins, bowling an excellent, teasing line around the wicket, had Laxman flicking at a full delivery that left the right-hander. Hooper took an excellent catch low down and India were 183/5.

Ajay Ratra, who has not distinguished himself with the bat in this series, once again stuttered, playing and missing constantly before Merv Dillon put an end to his misery. In a dismissal reminiscent of the Tendulkar lbw, Ratra was adjudged lbw to a delivery that struck him high on the pad.

Harbhajan Singh (three), who looked determined to stick around, slashed hard at one outside the off from Cuffy and inside-edged the ball on to the stumps.

Zaheer Khan provided some light entertainment with his energetic, vigorous heaves. The results were good when he connected, but that wasn't nearly often enough to make a difference to India's cause. Although he averages just 7.28 in Tests, people might remember Zaheer Khan's 24 off four balls against Henry Olonga. He certainly can give the ball a clout.

And today seemed to be his day. Launching into some aggressive pulls that sailed over the fence at midwicket, Zaheer Khan notched up a career best 46 (45 balls, five fours, two sixes) before tickling a long-hop from part-time leggie Ramnaresh Sarwan to 'keeper Jacobs.

The fall of Khan's wicket signalled lunch, with Ganguly repeating his first innings performance - unbeaten on 53. Zaheer Khan and Ganguly put on 74 for the eighth wicket, taking India close to avoiding the innings defeat.

Coming out after lunch, Javagal Srinath was dismissed for a golden duck, edging Sarwan to Chris Gayle at close gully. Having not taken a single Test wicket in his career coming into this match, Sarwan had two wickets off consecutive balls!

Ashish Nehra attempted to do a Zaheer Khan, swatting the ball about for three, before holing out Pedro Collins in the deep.

Unbeaten on 60 (146 balls, seven fours) Ganguly top scored for India in a disappointing, but much improved, 296 all out.

With the West Indies needing just five to win, India handed Sachin Tendulkar the new ball. Although he gave one run away off a no-ball, the man we're more used to seeing batting completed a tidy over. Harbhajan Singh shared the new ball with Tendulkar, in search of his 100th Test wicket. No such thing happened though. A short ball was creamed to the cover fence by Stuart Williams and that was that. West Indies had won by 10 wickets.