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

Teams' rookies could look ahead with optimism

What saved the game for West Indies was a spirit and unity of purpose that hasn't always been in evidence in the past decade, while R Ashwin and Virat Kohli showed signs of promise for India
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Just over a decade ago, a young offspinner who would be named Man of the Series for his 32 wickets, squeezed a Glenn McGrath delivery through point to seal a nerve-shredding victory for India at Chepauk. On Saturday afternoon, as the shadows lengthened across the Wankhede Stadium, the man who has taken Harbhajan Singh's place in the team had a chance to accomplish something similar. R Ashwin had taken 22 wickets from three Tests and with a century in the first innings, it was a safe bet that the Man-of-the-Series honours would be heading his way.

The similarities ended there though. Harbhajan wasn't battling the clock. He also had Sameer Dighe at the other end, a street-smart veteran schooled in the Mumbai crucible. Ashwin's accomplice was Varun Aaron, playing his debut Test and with negligible first-class experience. Two were needed from two balls when Ashwin's attempt to work one through the leg side crashed into the pad off the inside edge. With Carlton Baugh on his toes, a single wasn't possible.

With the field then spread, the final delivery was thumped to long-on. Ashwin never seemed to think that two was on and despite Aaron haring back, his stately turn and canter back found him well short. Nearly 15 years on from Bulawayo and David Lloyd's "we flippin' murdered them" remark, cricket had only its second instance of a game drawn with scores level.

As the hobbling Darren Sammy and his team celebrated as their predecessors had at the Gabba half a century ago, it was hard not to look at the Indian dressing room and Virat Kohli's crestfallen face. Having batted beautifully to resurrect the chase in the final session, it was his miscued cut that opened a door that appeared to have slammed shut on the men from the Caribbean.

There were echoes of an earlier Chennai Test in the way the final moments played out. In January 1999, Sachin Tendulkar had overcome immensely skilful bowling and back spasms to take India within 17 runs of victory against Pakistan. Then, Saqlain Mushtaq produced a doosra and Tendulkar's attempt to clear mid-on looped up to mid-off. The remaining three batsmen were snuffed out and it was the visitors that did a lap of honour at the end of the game.

Tendulkar still calls it his worst moment in more than two decades of playing the sport. Kohli's reaction at the end suggested that the scars from this one-that-got-away will stay with him for a while.

In so many ways, this was a bizarre day. There was sharper turn for the spinners, but no demons in the pitch to account for 17 wickets falling. Compared to Indian 'specials', like Bangalore 1987 or the Wankhede 2004, this was positively placid, with just the odd ball taking off from a length.

There were also no bowlers of McGrath's stature in action. Despite that, batsman after batsman, from both sides, fell to strokes that must have had the coaches seeking anger-management advice. Apart from Darren Bravo, deceived by the flight from Pragyan Ojha, and Ishant Sharma, cleaned up by reverse-swing from Ravi Rampaul, not one batsman could claim to have been undone by a great delivery.

What saved the game for West Indies was a spirit and unity of purpose that hasn't always been in evidence in the past decade. Sammy spoke afterward of Kirk Edwards at cover chanting "win or draw, win or draw". Defeat wasn't countenanced even with a bowler short and two men hobbling; their commitment would have gladdened the hearts of those who have seen better days.

Sammy, who scored a direct hit - Ashwin had just made his ground - at one stage while hopping across the ground like Long John Silver, epitomised that resolve. More talented cricketers have worn the maroon cap in the past 15 years. The vast majority, though, have lacked his humility and commitment to the cause. For a young team finding its way, he's the perfect leader.

As for India, who fell a few yards short of replicating the 1993 whitewash of England, a tour of Australia beckons. The best possible squad has been chosen, on form rather than reputation, and for once they'll get decent preparation as well.

It remains to be seen how the likes of Kohli and Ashwin react to this setback. MS Dhoni spoke of "learning from such mistakes". How well they do that will determine their futures. For now, both - like this young West Indies side - can look ahead with great optimism.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 28, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    Can we stop bashing Ashwin and, for a change, bash Dravid, Sachin, VVS and Captain Dhoni? Sehwag and Gambhir as well? So much for their seniority - failed when it mattered the most and Captain sends a rookie instead of Ojha. VVS and Sehwag had no business to play the shots that they played. Period! It's a batting failure by our seniors. How hard is that to understand? What's happening to us Indians? It's a shame that we should even think of bashing Ashwin. It's a team game and all the other blokes also need to contribute apart from Ash, Ojh and Kohli. For God's sake!! Stop bashing Ash and Kohli. It's their sin that they brought it this far. Sachin is happy with his 3, Dravid is fine with his 33, VVS is happy with his ridiculous pull! Not a word against those 3 and Sehwag is happy with his laidback deplorable reverse sweep so early during the chase. Natural game! huh? No problem if he got out to a proper cricket shot. Not a word against him! Wah bhai wah! Great going Indian Fans!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 28, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    @Rumy1, what experience of Harbhajan Singh are we going to miss IN Australia? Take each wicket at an average of 80+ over a career spanning 10 years? If he had guile why would his average be so high IN Australia? He is a finger spinner and will struggle on unhelpful flat tracks of Australia if he doesn't have guile and his stats IN Australia prove that he doesn't have guile. Bhajji must be thanking his lucky stars that he wasn't picked in the squad lest he might be mashed into Pav Bhaaji. LOL....

  • on November 28, 2011, 14:06 GMT

    To win, you must first stop losing. West Indies in the last few months, under Otis Gibson and Darren Sammy, have certainly learned that lesson. More importantly, they have taken a group of scrappy, talented youngsters and brought the fight to the number one team at home. I have never been one of those West Indians who saw Sammy as a pretender. Rather, I saw him as a player with more heart than talent, perhaps, but with something more important--belief in himself and his team and a strong work ethic. Belief in the idea that we could rise again. Finer batsmen and bowlers have worn the maroon and have scoffed at his inclusion. But he is a man for the times, and this is a team that will back itself and learn from its mistakes. I see no point in bemoaning missing players or long-gone glory days. Instead, I see a team that can grow to finally bring back WI pride. I support them all, 100%, as I have every team before. Win, lose or draw, they are my boys!

  • Haleos on November 28, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    @Whip - Only time will tell. Batting order is as good as an average international team? Thats a bit harsh. Which team do u support by the way? Does it start with a P or E?

  • Rangarajan_Rajamani_Chennai on November 28, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    @Rumy1: While you may have a point, 3 Tests is no measure for discarding someone as bad or hailing someone as good . . you play 98 tests and still cant take more than 9 wickets in Australia in 2 tours. . . or take just 1 wicket in 2 tests being senior spinner in England . . . or do nothing of note outside India, and cant even take wickets in Ranji trophy matches, may be then you can call someone as bad . . . Too early to call Ashwin just a Ranji bowler, as he has not played anything else. It is fast bowlers den and Ashwin might end up taking just as many wickets as Bhajji did . . . 9 wkts from 4 tests. Bhajji might create controversies, but his monkey gate did not win us the Sydney test. He was concealing his inability bowl through his so called aggression.

    Ashwin may not succeed in Aus. He may struggle, as he is touring there for the first time. But it is probability. Bhajji WILL DEFINITELY struggle. That is surety.

  • on November 28, 2011, 9:14 GMT

    Wonderful Game great advt for test Cricket But the West Indies must take the honour most before Before the start of the series India were expected Clinical 3-0 whitewashing the WIndies.Even though West Indies lost the series 0-2 They stunned and sweat India on many occasiion.They have their Chances in First Test and here at the Wankhede but its their Inexperience and most Inconsistency had made the difference

  • Rumy1 on November 28, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    I feel for Bhajji, Jaffer and Parthiv. Who is the third specialist opener for Australia tour. No one. If need be they will ask Rahane to fill in. Feel bad for Rahane as he is not an opener. I don't think it will be good for his career. In any case Jaffer is far more talented, technically more sound and much more experienced than likes of Rahane or Rohit. One fails to understand the blatant bias against Jaffer. On the other hand one fails to understand blatant favor for W.Saha. He somehow makes it to the team by hook or by crook. Parthiv again is made the casualty despite good performances both with bat and keeping. Despite 22 wicket haul by Ashwin in this series I still think Ashwin is a Ranji level off spinner who has a good carrom ball. Even West Indies batsmen had started reading his carrom ball well and had sorted him out by end of series. Favourable pitches and average west indies batsmen were the reasons behind Ashwin success. India will sorely miss Bhajji's experience and guile.

  • Shan_Ram on November 28, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    I am surprised many readers have blamed Ashwin for not taking the second run. The fact is there was no second run. Even if he had turned around earlier and attempted the second run, there was no way Ashwin could have made it. However, Ashwin should take the blame for taking a first ball single in two overs. With Varin Aron at the other end, instead of taking the single Ashwin should have waited and gone for a couple. Further, in my opinion, Virat Kohli, messed it up by going in for aggressive shots and missing instead of taking singles though the asking rate was quite comfortable - 32 off 42 deliveries.

  • on November 28, 2011, 7:04 GMT

    @ akram Ali... I completely AGREEEEE with you... Y.. Som useless people blaming Ashwin for his thinking cricketing Skill... See If Ashwin lost his wicket in last second ball of the Match.. Suddendly If India lost the 10th Wicket in the last Ball.. then it could have turn the result as "Windies Won the match by 1 run". Just think you Guys.........Well done Ashwin...... Keep rocking in Aus tour also....

  • on November 28, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    Guys.. whats done is done. No point in arguing it out. Ashwin has shown to be the kind of player from the MS Dhoni school of sport: the thinking cricketer. And he has talent and relentlessly works towards achieving higher goals. We must encourage such change... And speculate whether he can achieve such a performance on an Aussie pitch against veteran Oz batsmen..... Go Ashwin, Go Virat... Let the era of the youngsters begin!!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 28, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    Can we stop bashing Ashwin and, for a change, bash Dravid, Sachin, VVS and Captain Dhoni? Sehwag and Gambhir as well? So much for their seniority - failed when it mattered the most and Captain sends a rookie instead of Ojha. VVS and Sehwag had no business to play the shots that they played. Period! It's a batting failure by our seniors. How hard is that to understand? What's happening to us Indians? It's a shame that we should even think of bashing Ashwin. It's a team game and all the other blokes also need to contribute apart from Ash, Ojh and Kohli. For God's sake!! Stop bashing Ash and Kohli. It's their sin that they brought it this far. Sachin is happy with his 3, Dravid is fine with his 33, VVS is happy with his ridiculous pull! Not a word against those 3 and Sehwag is happy with his laidback deplorable reverse sweep so early during the chase. Natural game! huh? No problem if he got out to a proper cricket shot. Not a word against him! Wah bhai wah! Great going Indian Fans!

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 28, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    @Rumy1, what experience of Harbhajan Singh are we going to miss IN Australia? Take each wicket at an average of 80+ over a career spanning 10 years? If he had guile why would his average be so high IN Australia? He is a finger spinner and will struggle on unhelpful flat tracks of Australia if he doesn't have guile and his stats IN Australia prove that he doesn't have guile. Bhajji must be thanking his lucky stars that he wasn't picked in the squad lest he might be mashed into Pav Bhaaji. LOL....

  • on November 28, 2011, 14:06 GMT

    To win, you must first stop losing. West Indies in the last few months, under Otis Gibson and Darren Sammy, have certainly learned that lesson. More importantly, they have taken a group of scrappy, talented youngsters and brought the fight to the number one team at home. I have never been one of those West Indians who saw Sammy as a pretender. Rather, I saw him as a player with more heart than talent, perhaps, but with something more important--belief in himself and his team and a strong work ethic. Belief in the idea that we could rise again. Finer batsmen and bowlers have worn the maroon and have scoffed at his inclusion. But he is a man for the times, and this is a team that will back itself and learn from its mistakes. I see no point in bemoaning missing players or long-gone glory days. Instead, I see a team that can grow to finally bring back WI pride. I support them all, 100%, as I have every team before. Win, lose or draw, they are my boys!

  • Haleos on November 28, 2011, 13:43 GMT

    @Whip - Only time will tell. Batting order is as good as an average international team? Thats a bit harsh. Which team do u support by the way? Does it start with a P or E?

  • Rangarajan_Rajamani_Chennai on November 28, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    @Rumy1: While you may have a point, 3 Tests is no measure for discarding someone as bad or hailing someone as good . . you play 98 tests and still cant take more than 9 wickets in Australia in 2 tours. . . or take just 1 wicket in 2 tests being senior spinner in England . . . or do nothing of note outside India, and cant even take wickets in Ranji trophy matches, may be then you can call someone as bad . . . Too early to call Ashwin just a Ranji bowler, as he has not played anything else. It is fast bowlers den and Ashwin might end up taking just as many wickets as Bhajji did . . . 9 wkts from 4 tests. Bhajji might create controversies, but his monkey gate did not win us the Sydney test. He was concealing his inability bowl through his so called aggression.

    Ashwin may not succeed in Aus. He may struggle, as he is touring there for the first time. But it is probability. Bhajji WILL DEFINITELY struggle. That is surety.

  • on November 28, 2011, 9:14 GMT

    Wonderful Game great advt for test Cricket But the West Indies must take the honour most before Before the start of the series India were expected Clinical 3-0 whitewashing the WIndies.Even though West Indies lost the series 0-2 They stunned and sweat India on many occasiion.They have their Chances in First Test and here at the Wankhede but its their Inexperience and most Inconsistency had made the difference

  • Rumy1 on November 28, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    I feel for Bhajji, Jaffer and Parthiv. Who is the third specialist opener for Australia tour. No one. If need be they will ask Rahane to fill in. Feel bad for Rahane as he is not an opener. I don't think it will be good for his career. In any case Jaffer is far more talented, technically more sound and much more experienced than likes of Rahane or Rohit. One fails to understand the blatant bias against Jaffer. On the other hand one fails to understand blatant favor for W.Saha. He somehow makes it to the team by hook or by crook. Parthiv again is made the casualty despite good performances both with bat and keeping. Despite 22 wicket haul by Ashwin in this series I still think Ashwin is a Ranji level off spinner who has a good carrom ball. Even West Indies batsmen had started reading his carrom ball well and had sorted him out by end of series. Favourable pitches and average west indies batsmen were the reasons behind Ashwin success. India will sorely miss Bhajji's experience and guile.

  • Shan_Ram on November 28, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    I am surprised many readers have blamed Ashwin for not taking the second run. The fact is there was no second run. Even if he had turned around earlier and attempted the second run, there was no way Ashwin could have made it. However, Ashwin should take the blame for taking a first ball single in two overs. With Varin Aron at the other end, instead of taking the single Ashwin should have waited and gone for a couple. Further, in my opinion, Virat Kohli, messed it up by going in for aggressive shots and missing instead of taking singles though the asking rate was quite comfortable - 32 off 42 deliveries.

  • on November 28, 2011, 7:04 GMT

    @ akram Ali... I completely AGREEEEE with you... Y.. Som useless people blaming Ashwin for his thinking cricketing Skill... See If Ashwin lost his wicket in last second ball of the Match.. Suddendly If India lost the 10th Wicket in the last Ball.. then it could have turn the result as "Windies Won the match by 1 run". Just think you Guys.........Well done Ashwin...... Keep rocking in Aus tour also....

  • on November 28, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    Guys.. whats done is done. No point in arguing it out. Ashwin has shown to be the kind of player from the MS Dhoni school of sport: the thinking cricketer. And he has talent and relentlessly works towards achieving higher goals. We must encourage such change... And speculate whether he can achieve such a performance on an Aussie pitch against veteran Oz batsmen..... Go Ashwin, Go Virat... Let the era of the youngsters begin!!

  • Pathiyal on November 28, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    that was a fantastic effort by the WI bowlers - all of them. hope this has brought out a lot of confidence in them. their bowling unit proved fairly good throughout the series....ravi rampaul, fiedel edwards, bishoo and sammy all are good and were successful in bowling to their plans. it was great to see them in action. i wish them success in future.

  • on November 28, 2011, 2:37 GMT

    Indeed it was a nail-biter in the end and the last over, by Edwards, was really well bowled. But what baffles me and, I'm sure, countless others, was the WI's failure to declare on day 2 after amassing 500, which would have been just after the tea interval. With the Indian side having labored for nearly two days and exhibiting all signs of tiredness, more often than looking at the clock, the WI, with a declaration at 500, could have capitalized on the situation and claimed a wicket or two. This would have changed the entire complexion of the match. Instead, for some intriguing tactical reason, they not only chose to bat out the day but continued to do so at the start of day 3 - as if they were concerned about India overtaking the score and hand them a large surplus to overtake in their second inning. As it turned out, their 'strategy' turned out to be foolhardy and they came close to losing the series 3-0. Poor captaincy continues to play havoc with a team. Time for change at the helm!

  • mohamedamin on November 28, 2011, 2:22 GMT

    I wish to conquer the statements "More talented cricketers have worn the maroon cap in the past 15 years; the vast majority, though, have lacked Darren Sammy's humility and commitment"...can you ppl remember Chris Gayle century on one foot against South Africa in South Africa a few yrs ago??????propelling WI to set 182 for SA to win?????dont be baised against Chris....he is being hard done by Otiesha Gibson and Hilarie Bekky....

  • Whip on November 28, 2011, 1:28 GMT

    India boasts of a legendary batting lineup. Why then they should play six batsmen? Fear of a batting collapse? Why then can't they chase 240 odd runs, leaving it to a rookie? On paper India may be mighty in batting, but in reality these blokes together are only as good as the average international test team. Fast bowling and athletic fielding has never been India's forte, so there you have it a real struggle down under awaits.

  • NairUSA on November 28, 2011, 0:47 GMT

    WI has a better chance to prosper under Sammy with more talented players like Bravo blossoming under his leadership. Overall, this series had definitely gven the debutants something to cheer. Let us hope that the Indian youngsters carry their form to Australia.

  • NAZMO-CRICKFANN on November 27, 2011, 21:55 GMT

    thanks to the west indies, for a great series. no doubt west indies have given test cricket the boost it so bably desired . thank you west indies

  • moBlue on November 27, 2011, 20:59 GMT

    hindsight is 20-20, people! everyone now says very wise-sounding things like, "ashwin should have farmed strike", etc. well, how is he to have known that aaron would miss so many balls with swishes when he kept talking to him [presumably to take singles]? secondly, it is not either one of their faults because aaron is not a batsman. yes, ashwin made a puzzling error in the end under pressure; but that was a human error which *anyone* in the indian side not having three consecutive initials for his first name might have made, if you think about it! he is a rookie after all. lastly, what i think everyone is forgetting is his poise and strength under pressure in the first inning! the dude is a remarkable cricketer! we should be so lucky to see him live up to his full potential. i think has has more heart relative to his talent, kinda like anil kumble. judging him on the basis of this, a collective failure of the seniors in the team, if anything, is stupid, if you ask me.

  • on November 27, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    a guy who has hundreds in ranji trohy is nt expected to do wt ashwin did...

    again his remarks abt mumbai pitch were uncalled for...its all very gud when u hv ur franchise T-20 captain as test captain , franchise boss as BCCI boss.. n another franchise man as chief selector..u vl get more chances than others...i would love to see hw he performs in Oz where there will b no turn whatsoever until last 2 days of Sydnyt n Oz batters known to attack rookie bowlers...

    then his supposed class will b tested ..n nt against Windies

  • insightfulcricketer on November 27, 2011, 16:53 GMT

    A moment marks the man. All 5 days of work came down to that last 10 deliveries and Ashwin was sadly found out. Sardar would never have messed up this situation.Who can forget the Chennai test, that Umar Akmal wicket in WC semi-final and that last ball six against Pakistan in Asia Cup fsemi-final? As I keep saying skills can be found or developed but heart for a fight and street fighting quaility is within and Ashwin was found out against a much weaker opponent. He has to be careful he is filling giant shoes of Bhajji - taking 20 wickets on Indian pitches on batsmen with no proven class may sound a big deal for some but true cricket lovers will say your test has actually just begun.

  • gmoturu1 on November 27, 2011, 16:34 GMT

    Sammy is better than most players in WI. he should talk to people like Vettori to make himself a better player.

  • Nampally on November 27, 2011, 15:50 GMT

    @indianpunter: I agree with you that Ashwin should have run like hell for the 2 runs needed to win.He made a "Rookie" mistake thru absent mindedness. However I do not agree with you on other 2 points. He did try to clear with his wrist shot on the 5th ball but just nicked it to his pads. Had he timed it he wouldhave got a 4 to square leg.As for the single off the last ball,it brought India one run closer. He expected Aaron to get a single again off the first or second ball.Don't forget Ojha is very poor batsman and could not have survived against Fidel. So the tactics apart from absent mindedness of Ashwin was OK. However I would question the commitment of Gambhir, Sachin & Dhoni.I expect more responsibile batting from Indian "specialist batsmen".It was shoddy batting that got them out.Sehwag tried to be a "showman" & paid the penalty.VVS forgot his typical role in the second innings.So there are lots of lessons for others to ponder.Ashwin & Kohli were great despite the result!.

  • Nampally on November 27, 2011, 15:29 GMT

    Indeed the Rookies like Ashwin & Kohli have a very bright future ahead of them.Sammy might have been chanting"Win or Draw" which loed to WI stealing one from right under the nose of the Indian batsmen. It is unbelievable that Gambhir, Sachin & Dhoni got dismissed so cheaply. These 3 are amongst the top 6 Indian batsmen.If the top 6" specialists batsmen" are performing at 50% level it is hard to win matches.Amazingly the 2 Rookies Ashwin & Kohli rose to the occasion by saving a follow on in the first and were in a position for winning the match for India in the second until kohli played a suicidal shot. I wonder whetherAshwin was counting the balls in the over. with 2 needed he played a strong shot to the long on. If he knew it was the last ball of the match,he should have just runas fast as he can for 2 runs needed to win.This was a typical Rookie error.I am sure both these Rookies will learn from experience. Kudos to Sammy - he is fine leader& will carry this team a long way in future

  • TRAM on November 27, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    @TropicPleasure. Completely agreed regarding last ball. I would in fact blame the senior batsmen of India for the result. Not Kholi, Not Ashwin.

  • on November 27, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    What was a match that was. Ind WI drew but game won at the end. One thing is sure that this test has given a boost for test cricket it badly needed. If points has to be given for both teams in this test certainly there was more points for WI team than the Indians, through Ashwin along with Ojha and Virat fetch good points for India. These three players were solely responsible for this exciting finish. However the strategy by India was somewhat shocking and somewhat creating anger. It's very sad to see that they are unwilling to chase an easy run chase of about 4.0/over besides being the winner of the series. Just we saw some exciting cricket between Aus/SA in both the tests they play and both produce result. In fact most test matches now-a-days producing a result, but to witness Indian strategy is beyond imagination. They still depends on Sehwag, what about for others? Why they're called great guns? Full marks for WI team to play it with sportsmanship.

  • on November 27, 2011, 11:43 GMT

    One cam blame Ashwin if was veteran but as a player playing his debut series you should forgive him. He showed a great character in both innings and one should not forget he hold the fort since India need 54. It can be also seen as he saved the match rather than seeing it as he couldn't win the match.

  • Sinhaya on November 27, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    Full salutes to Sammy and Co for the fighting spirit shown. One of the greatest tests I ever saw. Hope cricket fans worldwide will start respecting Windies and hope they target winning against Australia in March next year.

  • indianpunter on November 27, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    Not to take away from Ashwin's efforts in the series. But he missed an opportunity to call this the "ashwin" test. There were several mistakes that he made in the chase. 1. Shouldnt have taken a single off the last ball of the penultimate over and left Aaron to face the over from Edwards. 2.he should have tried to clear the field on ball 5 ( when the field was in) and should have backed Ojha to defend the last ball, in case he got out. 3. should have run the 2nd run harder. He just gave up. You never know, with a batsman tearing down the pitch, the throw could have been a bit wider, WK might not have gathered cleanly under pressure, etc etc.. he should have tried. My feeling is that h was trying to be "too cool" and the game was drawn because of that. Having said that.. what a great find...

  • on November 27, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    Great article. Yes rookies are showing confidence in stepping into the shoes of the (super) seniors who will be retiring soon - either voluntarily or involuntarily. Gudos to the Indian selectors who have vision - at last !

  • on November 27, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    @Godfrey Pieters Windies CONCEDED first innings lead in all 3 home tests in july. Really, how people forget that?

  • ansram on November 27, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    It was more a WI resolve than an Indian lapse that caused the match to end in a draw. They put the dropped catches of Sehwag behind them ( which certainly nearly cost them the game) and fought back really hard. No point blaming Ashwin for the last ball fiasco, after the seniors had failed. India was on the backfoot at the fall of the fith wicket and draw was a fair result to both sides.

  • SpeedCricketThrills on November 27, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    Sammy, undoubtedly, was my hero too. Modest, aware of his limitations as well as strengths, he has been a pillar of strength to his guys. The crucial 1-2line strategy bites he was giving to the bowlers as they head towards the run up must have been very reassuring to the bowlers. A team that didn't deserve to be labelled as "whitewashed", good that the young guys saved the match.

  • on November 27, 2011, 6:39 GMT

    I would have liked an Indian Win but in the end a very good Test Match on a wicket that was a road.Never expected the final day to pan out like this.And though the series ended 2-0 in India's favor Windies competed very well and could have drawn 1-1 if not for the 3rd day at the Kotla.Even at Eden where they were outplayed they went down with a fight.To West Indies Players and Fans,you guys surely can overtake Sri Lanka and Pakistan to get to no.5 with the talent you have.Braithwatte,Bravo Jr,Barath,Bishoo,Kirk Edwards,Rampaul and Roach are good future prospects.And I've slowly begun to like the way Sammy is leading the team though results are not coming quickly enough.Even Ottis Gibson whom I had some doubts is doing a good job.The only thing Desmond Haynes must teach the batsmen is to have 2 good innings in a test match.Hopefully with guidance and experience they will learn that.Along with the recent Aus-SA n NZ-Zim tests this series proves Test Cricket is not dead.

  • Gupta.Ankur on November 27, 2011, 6:08 GMT

    I can say that WI showed greater application and commitment than England did in India.....

  • on November 27, 2011, 5:26 GMT

    Saw Darren Sammy in the field when I went and watched the match at Kotla. There was something about him which you could never gauge on the TV screen. He has a presence, and perhaps more importantly, he has the respect of his team. And notwithstanding his intensity, he also has a sense of humor on the field. That is important because there is every likelihood that he realizes that his team will lose more often than win. Carrying such an attitude might therefore serve him well, and prevent him from breaking down as a person. Good on him!

  • devil_in_details on November 27, 2011, 3:55 GMT

    Comments from the heart- i like darren sammy and the way he is optimistic and the windies players for their cheerful nature. I enjoy seeing Bravo hit his flamboyant shots. Comments from the head- that we are looking at a drawn match as victory is symptom of the poor state of windies. They need to bring gayle back as opener and sarwan to provide muscle (if he is in form) to the middle order. Windies batsmen have serious technical issues and the reason some of them were able to make aggressive runs was because of the very flat wickets. Even then because of their technical deficiencies they are prone to collapse. I think the road back would be long and carry much more pain. Heres hoping to a strong WI team once agan.

  • Ganes.V on November 27, 2011, 3:38 GMT

    moral victory for WI. and actually a failure for India as they were so close to winning.. when it mattered most some of the big guns and the captain failed miserably including the ever so reliable second innings man VVS. Sad story India should have won with 3 to get off the last over- every other team would have won even if it was with a debutant. Sorry India.

  • on November 27, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    Both teams going for the win in such a close game was great to see. Neither team deserved to lose & in a strange way, a drawn tie is a fitting result to this fantastic test match. Ashwin & Kohli are going to be India's next-gen test superstars. The hunger shown by these 2 to excel at the test level in an age when T-20 cricket threatens the very existence of the 5 day game, warms my heart. Ashwin's sensational performance of 100 & 9 wickets in the match will go down in the annals of Indian cricket history as a landmark achievement. I hope he can replicate this performance & fulfill his promise to become a genuine test all-rounder for us. I was a critic of Sammy but he has won me over with his leadership & spirit. What he lacks in skills, he more than makes up for in his dedication & determination to perform. With Bravo, Rampaul & Bishoo, they have 3 promising stars who will hopefully get them back to winning ways. As an Indian fan, my good wishes will always be with the West Indies team

  • vk6848 on November 27, 2011, 3:20 GMT

    Learn from what (Ashwin)? There is no one in the world who could have run 2 runs after his last shot (on his back foot). All he could have done was to run like mad and be out by 5 yards, not 10! There was even no chance of him blocking the throw (he needed to able to fly for that)!!!

  • on November 27, 2011, 3:13 GMT

    This is one of the reasons why the West Indies team will always be adored by fans world over. The way they play the game - always in great spirit & always fair - is a model for all other cricket nations to follow. There were so many instances of great sportsmanship & camaraderie shown by both teams which was heartening to see in such an unbelievably close game. Fidel's warning to Ashwin for backing up too early was reminiscent of Walsh's magnanimous gesture in the final over of their match against Pakistan in the 1987 WC. Although initially dodgy, the WI still picked up their over rate in the last 2 sessions to the required number & desisted from using time wasting tactics. They didn't bowl excessively defensive/negative lines. Even in the final overs, they didn't resort to bowling high bouncers or way down the leg-side (which they would have been justified in using) to prevent India from scoring. All 6 of Fidel's final over were aimed at the stumps. CONTINUED....

  • RandyOZ on November 27, 2011, 1:44 GMT

    I can't help but think Sammy is the best captain the West Indies have. His tight bowling is also crucial.

  • Arunvilla on November 27, 2011, 0:17 GMT

    Atlast west indies have found the right team to get back into the right ways....hats off sammy!!!this spirit was lacking with the w.i for nearly fifteen years

  • Alexk400 on November 26, 2011, 23:59 GMT

    SAMMY WILLED THE GAME TO DRAW!. He was spectacular with his pure energy and effort. Lead the way for his young team. Even without bowling he was was ready to do HARD WORK. DRAW is Best result. EVen though i want india to win, i am not sad India could only draw the game because of sammy 's fielding , marlon samuels marathon emotionless bowling , one legged bishoo , Ramphal controlled bowling , grat fielding...pitch was slow , even sehwag hit the ball did n't go anywhere , i though sehwga bat was bad....it is just the picth. India would not have tried to win without sehwag. India do not have warriors if you remove Sehwag. Yes he has 3 lives but FORTUNE FAVORS THE BRAVE. Even though sammy kinda imbalances the team because his batting is poor , bowling mediocre , there is no one in sight with leadership who can contributes with other areas. Gayle can't captain , chanderpaul finished. Do not want to put pressure on young bravo. Dwayne bravo should be leading the team if you ask me.

  • on November 26, 2011, 23:14 GMT

    We could have won this series either 2-1 or 2-0 . Playing against a team like India in their backyard and winning would have been the ultimate for us. WICB selectors should have picked its best side for this tour but they didn't. Every single one of the Indian top five batsmen has a reputation of dominating the oppositions bowling. In our batting lineup only Chanderpaul comes close. We seriously missed Gayle & Sarwan in this series. not only would their aggressive batting up the run rate & force dhoni to think twice they would have been assets in the slips & spin bowling as well. Sammy has really tried but the burden on him is too great. He bowled decently throughout the series i will give him that. However Batting collapses aside his lack of initiative /aggressive intent & failure to restrict easy scoring due to questionable field placing as captain has cost us victory again. He used to be a good fielder but now he has a propensity to drop crucial catches.

  • Shridhar_Malur on November 26, 2011, 22:22 GMT

    A draw was more of a victory for the WI as the famed Indian batting line-up made a mountain out of a mole hill... If anything, it is probably a good time to take a rain check on the great but ageing Indian middle order. The sight of VVS converting 3s to 2s and the fact that RD will turn 39 during the tour of Australia with SRT doing likewise soon after indicates that the time to draw up the retirement plans are well-nigh near. Not long ago a young Cheteshwar Pujara led a run chase against a much better team in the 4th innings and it is time to get him and Rohit into the playing XI sooner rather than later. With all due respect to Kohli, a consummate actor no doubt, going by his facial contortions, CP and RS are miles ahead of him in terms of batting calibre...

  • TropicPleasure on November 26, 2011, 21:55 GMT

    As a West Indian, I find all these kudos for the West Indies team quite frightening. When we celebrate a non-loss (I don't get it that this is described as a draw and not a tie simple because the team batting last had a wicket in had, but that's a different story) it says a lot about the state of our cricket

    Let's not forget that this is the same team that was bowled out for 134. They lost the series 2-0. They did not win a single match. Had it not been Ashwin's ill-advised decision take the single on the last ball of the penultimate over, India would likely have won. Everyone talks about him not running hard for the second run on the last ball - the fact is the second was never on - but we forget he ran a single on the last ball on the penultimate over, hereby exposing Aaron to the last over. That's where, in my mind, India failed to win it.

    There is nothing really for the West Indies to celebrate. We are a long way yet from winning test matches. A very, very long way

  • on November 26, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    people blamed the pitch for 4 days and on the 5th day it happened to be the most exiting test of the year thats the beauty of test cricket

  • mrmonty on November 26, 2011, 20:50 GMT

    Just like in life, another test match ending in a no-win-loss. Kudos to Sammy for his leadership qualities. Not that he would, but Gayle should be learning something.

  • AB235 on November 26, 2011, 20:36 GMT

    A level headed captain was selected by the WI selectors and was persisted with for a long time. It was with very valid reasons. Despite crushing talent, Chris Gayle was not drawn into the field for his high headed attitude, and rightly so, Sammy's men showed. As an Indian, I am happy for the contest provided by the visitors. For a team which had its top 5 batsmen more than 200 international centuries under their belt, and for the visitors who barely had 20 centuries in all forms of international cricket, I would say India LOST this series when they conceded two first innings, and certainly when they could not win today despite such heroics by the underrated spinners (compared to their 'beloved' & 'obsessed' Harbhajan) and a young No.6 who kept his head for a much long time than the 'succumbing in pressure' captain Dhoni and the Grand Master. This series is a win for those lads who have played less than 10-15 tests for their countries - Ashwin, Kohli, Yadav, Aaron, Ozha and all WI lads.

  • on November 26, 2011, 20:17 GMT

    It would have been a travesty of justice if the West Indies lost this match after the way they batted in the first innings. And It would have destroyed the self confidence of a budding West Indian Team. As an Indian fan I have always loved the way the West Indies played their cricket. Guys like Richards, Sobers, Lara and Lloyd did not have to sledge to win matches. This series was played in the right sprit unlike the ODIS against England and Sammy and his boys must take great credit for that. Bravo, Kirk Edwards, Barath, etc look like good prospects but have to be more consistent and mentally tough. This West Indian side reminds me of the Indian side of old, great on the eye but prone to collapsing and losing matches that they should have one.

  • Sudeeksh on November 26, 2011, 19:35 GMT

    Great match. From whatever I have seen this WI side is here to stay. I plead the WICB to stick with this side and not run into contract problems. Our visitors were known for their colorful and flamboyant cricket. In this series they might not have been flamboyant to a great extent but colorful they were. Darren Sammy is a good leader and he can lead this side to greater heights. Never in this series did he look bogged down by the losses n always put up a smile. The moment of the series was when he punched his fist with Rahul Dravid. He graceful under all the criticism. All the best to the WI team. You played better than the final scoreline suggested.

  • on November 26, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    I will have to say that darren sammy is one of those cricketers who really does play with a lot of heart .I really like players with this kind of attitude who might be limited in talent but they make up for it with that passion.

  • kabe_ag7 on November 26, 2011, 18:45 GMT

    @sweetspot - Well said. That Sammy and Dravid glove punch was a superb moment. Love Sammy and his West Indies team. Well said Dravid_Gravitas too.

  • Mayfield on November 26, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    @abhijeet Nonsense. The WI gave India, the former #1 team a fight for their money in their back yard. Give WI the credit they deserve. No one would have predicted that the WI would have performed in this manner in this series. As I have stated many times, Gibson and co. are moving WI in the right direction. Cricinfo commentator, "What saved the game for West Indies was a spirit and unity of purpose that hasn't always been in evidence in the past decade." As for Sammy, he is proving why he was selected as Captain. Cricinfo commentator, "Defeat wasn't countenanced even with a bowler short and two men hobbling; their commitment would have gladdened the hearts of those who have seen better days. Sammy- while hopping across the ground ... epitomised that resolve. More talented cricketers have worn the maroon cap. The vast majority have lacked his his humility and commitment to the cause. For a young team finding its way, he's the perfect leader. Enough said.

  • on November 26, 2011, 18:35 GMT

    @sweetspot. I also like the way all West Indian players went straight to Ashwin to shake his hand when he got out after scoring a 100.

  • on November 26, 2011, 18:34 GMT

    Heart breaking non-victory but that's how it was destined to be! If only............

  • cheguramana on November 26, 2011, 18:27 GMT

    I am proud of the Indian team and the way they played this match. Well played boys ! Right from the beginning of the day, you guys played with aggression and purpose and almost pulled off a thrilling victory. A 3-0 verdict would have been most satisfying to an Indian fan, but we have to appreciate the way WI team was able to hold their own and pull off a draw. This kind of match goes to show that the highest quality of Test cricket is possible in India and the crowds love it as well. Along with the recent SA-Aus series, this gives some relief to those who think Test cricket is doomed.

  • sweetspot on November 26, 2011, 17:25 GMT

    I love this WI team, like many before them. I wonder how many remember this moment, but when Rahul Dravid barely managed to kick the ball away from the stumps after playing it, almost all the WI fielders reacted to the fact that it was very, very close indeed. In a pure moment of cricketing enjoyment, Darren Sammy reached out to Dravid and extended his fist, to get a glove punch from Dravid! To me, that remains the moment of this test match. Fun prevailed over all competitiveness, and enjoyment of the little feat was paramount, no matter who it came from. As far as Ashwin not running the second run is concerned, there was no second. Yes he could have run harder, but there was no second there. His judgment was spot on.

  • on November 26, 2011, 17:04 GMT

    I am really happy for the appreciation Darren Sammy has got. The results may not have been visible, but I see a man in Darren Sammy who is ready to work hard without making a fuss. Moreover, notwithstanding whether it appeared in their brains or not, I am glad that Sammy and Edwards didn't opt to bowl an underhanded unplayable sort of last delivery once victory was out of sight for the Windies. I liked the spirit the series was played in.

  • on November 26, 2011, 16:34 GMT

    The series was much closer than the results would seem to indicate. It was learning curve for the young West Indies team and I, who has been critic, have to doff my hats off to them,. They will obviously improve and grow from strength to strength, Given another year or two the West Indies should finally be in a long overdue position to lose less, win more and compete every which way. Kudos to our lads.

  • on November 26, 2011, 16:31 GMT

    hats off to sammmy.. he might not have bowled single ball in the 2nd innings. but the commitment he shown in the field and never die attitude snatched the victory away from the Indians... salute the WI captain

  • on November 26, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    The gods r fair. If ever there were a team that didn't deserve to be white wash,it was the WI team. Their performance thru out the series was impressive. I like the writer's quote that was attributed to Sammy, his humility & commitment. If the ICC ranking policy is as fair as the gods, WI should move to #6. Why? A #7 team playing a#2 team in their own backyard. WI led India twice on st innings pts, WI avoided a W/W, s thing India couldn't have done in Eng. Sachin was denied his coveted century. We lost the series, but that was predictable. H/ever we were very competitive. What do u think?

  • on November 26, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    Not to pile on the Windies further, but their celebrations at not being whitewashed 3-0 were rather surprising, like they had won the test. I guess they take whatever crumbs they can these days, much like Indian fans used to 20 years ago.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 26, 2011, 15:31 GMT

    I'm thoroughly impressed with this Windies side even before they landed on our soil. Now that the series is over, I can't help but wonder why Sammy is hated so badly by some West Indian fans. He is honest, humble and is always on the prowl. What he lacks slightly in talent he more than makes up for it with his determination and his ability to keep the team united and raring to go. He is worth his weight in Gold. No two ways about it. I liked the spirit of Kirk - win or draw, win or draw. Excellent! My take, win or loss it doesn't matter. Persist with these lion hearted players and positive results will inevitably adorn their wardrobes. Just imagine, they took lead in two out of three innings on opponent's home soil; against the batting line-up with names like Sachin, Dravid, Gambhir, VVS and Sehwag. I'm not sure if this Windies team with a little more experience after the next 12 to 18 months would lose or draw from such positions. Our visitors won many hearts. Thanks for visiting us.

  • khiladisher on November 26, 2011, 15:25 GMT

    VIRAT KOHLI DOES NOT HAVE TO BE DEVASTATED -WE NEVER LOST ANYTHING-THE MATCH WAS A DRAW-SALUTE THE WEST INDIAN TEAM FOR THEIR RESOLVE AND FIGHTING SPIRIT AGAINST THE GREATEST TEAM EVER AT HOME ALL TIME{INDIAN RECORD AT HOME FROM 1987-2011 IS THE BEST EVER BY ANY TEAM AT HOME ALL TIME.INDIA REMAINS THE BENCH MARK FOR TEAM PERFORMANCES AT HOME AND DO NOT FORGET CHASING ALMOST 250 RUNS IN THE LAST 2 SESSIONS OF A TEST MATCH IS NO EASY TASK.

  • PcDadda on November 26, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    On the contrary I believe the young Indians will take a lot of positives from the chase - let's not forget that Ashwin showed remarkable composure and cricket sense by blocking the penultimate delivery thus ruling out an Indian defeat. It was also very clear that Ramdin out thought him by firing the ball at the batter's end - Ashwin did not feel disheartened at all in the presentation. Kohli is somewhat an emotional person and may carry this for a while - but he'll get over - this is nothing like Chennai 1999.

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  • PcDadda on November 26, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    On the contrary I believe the young Indians will take a lot of positives from the chase - let's not forget that Ashwin showed remarkable composure and cricket sense by blocking the penultimate delivery thus ruling out an Indian defeat. It was also very clear that Ramdin out thought him by firing the ball at the batter's end - Ashwin did not feel disheartened at all in the presentation. Kohli is somewhat an emotional person and may carry this for a while - but he'll get over - this is nothing like Chennai 1999.

  • khiladisher on November 26, 2011, 15:25 GMT

    VIRAT KOHLI DOES NOT HAVE TO BE DEVASTATED -WE NEVER LOST ANYTHING-THE MATCH WAS A DRAW-SALUTE THE WEST INDIAN TEAM FOR THEIR RESOLVE AND FIGHTING SPIRIT AGAINST THE GREATEST TEAM EVER AT HOME ALL TIME{INDIAN RECORD AT HOME FROM 1987-2011 IS THE BEST EVER BY ANY TEAM AT HOME ALL TIME.INDIA REMAINS THE BENCH MARK FOR TEAM PERFORMANCES AT HOME AND DO NOT FORGET CHASING ALMOST 250 RUNS IN THE LAST 2 SESSIONS OF A TEST MATCH IS NO EASY TASK.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on November 26, 2011, 15:31 GMT

    I'm thoroughly impressed with this Windies side even before they landed on our soil. Now that the series is over, I can't help but wonder why Sammy is hated so badly by some West Indian fans. He is honest, humble and is always on the prowl. What he lacks slightly in talent he more than makes up for it with his determination and his ability to keep the team united and raring to go. He is worth his weight in Gold. No two ways about it. I liked the spirit of Kirk - win or draw, win or draw. Excellent! My take, win or loss it doesn't matter. Persist with these lion hearted players and positive results will inevitably adorn their wardrobes. Just imagine, they took lead in two out of three innings on opponent's home soil; against the batting line-up with names like Sachin, Dravid, Gambhir, VVS and Sehwag. I'm not sure if this Windies team with a little more experience after the next 12 to 18 months would lose or draw from such positions. Our visitors won many hearts. Thanks for visiting us.

  • on November 26, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    Not to pile on the Windies further, but their celebrations at not being whitewashed 3-0 were rather surprising, like they had won the test. I guess they take whatever crumbs they can these days, much like Indian fans used to 20 years ago.

  • on November 26, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    The gods r fair. If ever there were a team that didn't deserve to be white wash,it was the WI team. Their performance thru out the series was impressive. I like the writer's quote that was attributed to Sammy, his humility & commitment. If the ICC ranking policy is as fair as the gods, WI should move to #6. Why? A #7 team playing a#2 team in their own backyard. WI led India twice on st innings pts, WI avoided a W/W, s thing India couldn't have done in Eng. Sachin was denied his coveted century. We lost the series, but that was predictable. H/ever we were very competitive. What do u think?

  • on November 26, 2011, 16:31 GMT

    hats off to sammmy.. he might not have bowled single ball in the 2nd innings. but the commitment he shown in the field and never die attitude snatched the victory away from the Indians... salute the WI captain

  • on November 26, 2011, 16:34 GMT

    The series was much closer than the results would seem to indicate. It was learning curve for the young West Indies team and I, who has been critic, have to doff my hats off to them,. They will obviously improve and grow from strength to strength, Given another year or two the West Indies should finally be in a long overdue position to lose less, win more and compete every which way. Kudos to our lads.

  • on November 26, 2011, 17:04 GMT

    I am really happy for the appreciation Darren Sammy has got. The results may not have been visible, but I see a man in Darren Sammy who is ready to work hard without making a fuss. Moreover, notwithstanding whether it appeared in their brains or not, I am glad that Sammy and Edwards didn't opt to bowl an underhanded unplayable sort of last delivery once victory was out of sight for the Windies. I liked the spirit the series was played in.

  • sweetspot on November 26, 2011, 17:25 GMT

    I love this WI team, like many before them. I wonder how many remember this moment, but when Rahul Dravid barely managed to kick the ball away from the stumps after playing it, almost all the WI fielders reacted to the fact that it was very, very close indeed. In a pure moment of cricketing enjoyment, Darren Sammy reached out to Dravid and extended his fist, to get a glove punch from Dravid! To me, that remains the moment of this test match. Fun prevailed over all competitiveness, and enjoyment of the little feat was paramount, no matter who it came from. As far as Ashwin not running the second run is concerned, there was no second. Yes he could have run harder, but there was no second there. His judgment was spot on.

  • cheguramana on November 26, 2011, 18:27 GMT

    I am proud of the Indian team and the way they played this match. Well played boys ! Right from the beginning of the day, you guys played with aggression and purpose and almost pulled off a thrilling victory. A 3-0 verdict would have been most satisfying to an Indian fan, but we have to appreciate the way WI team was able to hold their own and pull off a draw. This kind of match goes to show that the highest quality of Test cricket is possible in India and the crowds love it as well. Along with the recent SA-Aus series, this gives some relief to those who think Test cricket is doomed.