Third Test

West Indies v India

At Bridgetown, May 2, 3, 4, 5. West Indies won by ten wickets. Toss: West Indies.

If Port-of-Spain had proved itself India's lucky venue, Bridgetown was the precise opposite. They had never won a match of any kind at Kensington Oval, and had lost six of their seven Tests there. The aversion was confirmed with the first ball of the game, with which Dillon bowled Das - an immediate psychological setback from which India never recovered. They were dismissed for 102 just after tea on a rain-interrupted first day. Once Hooper and Chanderpaul reprised their hundreds from Georgetown, there was no realistic way back. The pitch, later rated by Hooper as the best of the series, was blameless in India's first-innings demise. Slack strokes against lively bowling were more to the point. Tendulkar was out to his second ball, which was also Collins's second on his return to the West Indies team. He and Jacobs, who took the catch, had been out since the series with Pakistan in February. The only fight came from Ganguly, who was last out when Dillon followed up his four wickets with a breathtaking catch on the third-man boundary.

A century stand between Lara and Sarwan gave West Indies the lead with only two wickets down. But when Nehra accounted for both in eight deliveries, Hooper and Chanderpaul had to rebuild. Hooper was 15 when replays indicated he was out of his crease as Nehra deflected Chanderpaul's drive into the stumps; the third umpire generously gave him the benefit of whatever doubt there might have been. The run-out would have left West Indies 220 for five; as it was, they did not lose their fifth wicket until an hour and a half into the third day when Hooper, hitting out at Harbhajan, sent a spiralling catch to extra cover. By then, he had batted five and three-quarter hours and struck 18 fours. He had added 215 with Chanderpaul, their second double-century partnership of the series. Chanderpaul was 91 when he lost Hooper; he just managed to beat the usual lower-order collapse - six for 18 - to reach his own hundred, which took just over six hours.

The tourists trailed by 292. Das and his third opening partner in as many Tests, Wasim Jaffer, put on 80, India's best start of the series. It took a direct hit by Chanderpaul from point to part them, just before tea. But three more wickets were down by the end of the third day, and there would have been more but for sharp, close catches missed off Ganguly and Laxman. West Indies needed only four overs next morning to break their stand as Collins lured Laxman into an edge. After that, only Zaheer Khan's belligerent run-a-ball 46 and another defiant, but futile, innings from Ganguly sent the match into a fourth afternoon and forced West Indies to bat again. When Dillon claimed his eighth wicket of the match, they needed a mere five runs to level the series. Man of the Match: M. Dillon.

Close of play: First day, West Indies 33-1 (Gayle 14, Sarwan 0); Second day, West Indies 314-4 (Hooper 70, Chanderpaul 75); Third day, India 169-4 (Ganguly 15, Laxman 30).

© John Wisden & Co