India v West Indies, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 5th day November 26, 2011

Only the second draw with scores level


India 482 (Ashwin 103, Tendulkar 94, Dravid 82) and 242 for 9 (Kohli 63, Sehwag 60) drew with West Indies 590 (Bravo 166, K Edwards 86, Powell 81) and 134 (Ojha 6-47, Ashwin 4-34)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The draw was the predicted result at the start of the final day at the Wankhede. It was a draw alright, but instead of the widely expected bore, India and West Indies served up one of the most extraordinary days of Test cricket, with the match ending with the scores level for only the second time in history.

R Ashwin was the Man of the Match and Man of the Series, but wasn't the man of the moment for India when they needed two off the final delivery - he took a single, but didn't set off immediately for the tight second that could have sealed the win, and the clean sweep for India. Ashwin was run out, ending an hour of almost unbearable tension that showcased Test cricket's slow-burn thrills. Fidel Edwards, a man renowned for securing nail-biting draws with the bat, had done the job with the ball in the final over this time.

A comatose Test had sprung to life on the final morning in Mumbai, as Pragyan Ojha and Ashwin ran through the West Indian line-up courtesy a combination of quality spin and atrocious shot selection. That left India a tricky 243 to get in 64 overs. Virender Sehwag then concocted another brisk half-century to set the early pace, before Virat Kohli forged his second Test fifty in two days to seal his place at No. 6 for the Boxing Day Test and keep India's pursuit on course.

With ten overs to go, India were well in control - 42 away with Kohli and Ashwin at the crease, both youngsters brimming with confidence after making plenty of runs on the fourth day, and having their places for the tour of Australia confirmed earlier on the fifth. The pair took India within 19 runs of the target, and victory seemed a formality. That was when Kohli top-edged a catch to a hobbling Darren Sammy at gully.

That put Ashwin in the spotlight. He revelled under responsibility all series, but the biggest test of his temperament had just arrived, as the required-rate increasingly gained significance. He was remarkably composed, often counselling the tailenders as the match wound its way to an impossibly tense finish. The most common chant in Indian grounds is the "Sachin, Sachin" mantra - the first word stretched out, the second short and sharp. A similar chant went around the Wankhede, only Sachin was replaced by Ashwin.

As the light faded, so too did the West Indian fielding. They missed several direct hits, including two off successive deliveries in the penultimate over. One precise throw could have been a match-turner. Ishant Sharma began with a classic off-drive for four, and then scraped singles with Ashwin to bring it down to four runs needed off eight, with two wickets remaining.

Ravi Rampaul then got reward for his give-it-everything burst, getting a ball to swerve past Ishant's bat and take out leg stump. The debutant Varun Aaron walked out, under far more pressure than he would have ever faced in his fledgling career. He inside-edged a single to keep strike for the final over. Three needed.

Edwards bowled with a packed in-field, with only third man and fine leg deep to prevent any edged boundaries. His first ball was too quick for Aaron, the second was sharply fielded at cover, and third was a tailenders' mow that connected with nothing. A take-it-easy mid-pitch conversation followed. Rather than the batsman, it was the West Indian fielding that took it easy though, as yet another misfield provided an opening, with Marlon Samuels conceding a single to bring Ashwin on strike.

Two off two then. Ashwin edged the penultimate ball onto the pad. No run, but with two wickets in hand, an India defeat had now been taken out of the equation. He pummelled the final delivery to long-on, and though Aaron was haring back to the non-striker's end, Ashwin was slow to turn around for the second, giving more time for a run-out at the wicketkeeper's end. When it mattered, the throw was spot on, Ashwin was run out with the scores level.

The drama at the death made the topsy-turvy events of the morning seem humdrum. It had taken India nearly six sessions to get eight West Indian wickets in the first innings, but the same feat required little more than an hour on the final morning. The difference between West Indies' totals was 456, the fourth-largest in Test history, yet again highlighting their inability to put together two solid innings.

Ojha sparked the collapse by removing West Indies' best batsman of the series, Darren Bravo, and their most experienced, Samuels, in one over. He snared the first five wickets of the innings, before Ashwin joined the party, and the two were in a race to top the series' wickets chart. It ended Ashwin 22, Ojha 20.

While one Caribbean meltdown a Test is almost the norm, it was expected that even if India lost a few early wickets, the stalwarts in the middle order would at least hold out for a safety-first draw - especially against an attack that was missing Sammy, troubled by a leg injury. Devendra Bishoo was also hampered by a thigh injury. Sehwag made the most of three dropped catches, and though it wasn't his usual blast-from-the-start innings, there was plenty of typical audacity as he powered India along at five an over.

It was all India as they motored past 100, before the twist duly arrived. Sehwag, the great entertainer, found an unusual way to get out - top-edging a full toss outside leg to short fine leg after attempting an insouciant reverse-paddle. Samuels then made up for the eyesore of a stroke he attempted earlier in the day, by wheedling out the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid.

India still had the iron-clad guarantee of VVS Laxman, perhaps the finest final-innings player around. For once, he couldn't stay till the end, and when another famous finisher, MS Dhoni, followed him soon after, it was down to the new boys, Kohli and Ashwin. They might not have taken India over the line, but were instrumental in one of the most dramatic denouements in Test history.

If Test cricket's obituarists hadn't been daunted by Zimbabwe's brave but failed chase in Bulawayo, or the twists-and-turns of the South Africa v Australia series, this match should certainly keep them at bay.

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Milind on November 28, 2011, 21:20 GMT

    For all the work that the Indian spinners put in (with bat and ball) they deserved a win. Ashwin may not be the best athlete in the Indian team, but a whole hearted desire to win the game would have helped him run faster, rather than being satisfied with a draw. Recall the last ball six by Miandad against Chetan Sharma in Sharjah! What many won't know was how Tauseef Ahmed stole a single off the penultimate ball by tapping it in front of Azhar at cover to give Miandad the strike. Azhar who was one of the safest fielders, missed an easy direct throw at the non-striker's end which saw Tauseef complete the run. Folks, a killer instinct is necessary for India to become No. 1 again. BTW, I am a Sehwag admirer, bcoz he seems to have it!

  • Dummy4 on November 28, 2011, 11:06 GMT

    India must have won it because the series was already won 2-0 so they would have gone for the win in the last over.

  • Sharky on November 28, 2011, 8:51 GMT

    Although I love my Dancing Girls and totally ridiculous amount of boundaries and wickets in twenty20 cricket, and I'm a HUGE ODI fan too, I've got to admit that this must be the year for GREAT Test matches. After the brilliant SA vs Aus Series, this Test was just as pleasing to watch. Great Test Match. Even a draw can be nail-biting and tremendous entertaining. I just love Test Cricket.

  • Girik on November 28, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    So many cricket fans unfortunately don't understand the difference between the draw and a tie. THIS WAS A DRAW. A draw is when there is not enough time to determine a winner. A tie is when it has been determined that the scores are level. This normally means the chasing team has to be all out. India weren't all out. If there was one more ball they could have scored the final run so how can it be a tie? Time/balls ran out. That is a draw.

  • Dummy4 on November 28, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    Ashwin,Ohja,Kohli are undoubtedly the stars of this game. Dravid,Gauti,Viru,SRT,VVS chipped in with useful knocks too. MSD is absolute failure with the bat in both innings. We cant ask more from those who contributed enough. Kohli proved himself with 115 in 2 innings( his previous 5 innigs fetched only 76 though). Ashwin's century & 9 wkts, Ohja's brillant 6 wkt haul in 2nd innings. You want Ashwin to win the game with the bat after he picked 9 wkts in the match & scored 103 in 1st innings??? Absoulte rubbish to blame the tail enders for not going for a win... Its the responsiblity of MSD who failed in 1st innings to stay till end and see India home with a win and not blame others for losing thier wickets!!!

  • Matt on November 28, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    @Anil Kumar Bohara, get it right mate. It's only a tie if the Windies took the final wicket. A draw is the correct result of the match

  • Harsh on November 28, 2011, 2:36 GMT

    It was test match Cricket that was the greatest winner .This game proved the superiority of the test match game to any other format.The twist in the tale reminded one of a Hollywood film with a most unexpected climax.India came close to launching one of cricket's most sensational wins in game certain to be heading for a draw while the West Indies showed great resilience defending the run chase,capturing important wickets at crucial junctures when India appeared cruising home to the target..In the end no team deserved to lose and it was a fitting result.A certain draw was converted into a moral result .

  • Dummy4 on November 28, 2011, 2:19 GMT

    No point to blame Ashwin, the poor shot selection of Laxman & Kohli in a crucial juncture were responsible for this draw. Ashwin should have not allowed to take that single in the last ball of penultimate over, however, he has made sure that India haven't lost this match...

  • Bob on November 27, 2011, 21:32 GMT

    @Francis Chu... you don't remember very well then... because the England coach then was Bumble.... David Lloyd...

  • Dummy4 on November 27, 2011, 20:11 GMT

    I remember the other occasion this happened - primarily for then England coach David Adams' "we flippin' murdered 'em" comments about Zimbabwe.

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