At St John's, May 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. Drawn. Toss: West Indies.
Five individual hundreds were scored on a pitch so lifeless that it yielded 1,142 runs for 18 wickets. India amassed their highest total in the Caribbean, West Indies passed 600 for the first time in nearly seven years, and beat the ground record. Yet the two most prominent batsmen of their generation, Tendulkar and Lara, managed only four runs between them.
Ratra, in his third Test, and Jacobs contributed an odd record: it was the first occasion in 125 years of Test cricket that opposing wicket-keepers had scored hundreds in the same match. Later, Ratra sent down what became the game's penultimate over; all 11 Indians bowled, only the third such instance in Tests.
But the most memorable image of a batsman's match was provided by a bowler, Kumble. Sheathed in head bandages like some battle-front survivor, he returned to the action on the third evening with a broken jaw. It had just been announced that he was flying home for surgery, but when he saw Tendulkar turning the ball he hurried out, went straight into the attack, and bowled 14 consecutive overs, in which he dismissed Lara and had Hooper caught off a no-ball. Only the close of play halted him; next day, he departed, and was sorely missed.
For the fourth Test in succession, Hooper won the toss; for the third time, he fielded. But in spite of the early loss of Das and the first-ball dismissal of Tendulkar, both to Collins, India were strongly placed after the first day, thanks to a stand of 155 between Wasim Jaffer and Dravid. There was a slight wobble in the morning, when three wickets fell in the space of 24 runs, including Kumble, who had kept on batting for four overs after a blow from Dillon left him spitting blood. Laxman took 22 balls to get off the mark; after that, however, he quickly asserted himself, while Ratra, who had shown no pretensions as a batsman in his four previous Test innings, played with increasing confidence as the bowling lost its bite. They added 217 for India's seventh wicket, batting through to the third morning, before Laxman stepped on to his off-stump, playing Dillon to leg. Ratra was then 99, but reached his hundred by the end of the over with his 12th boundary. He was unbeaten when Ganguly declared.
Apart from Lara, the West Indian batsmen spent the remainder of the match cashing in on the conditions and the absence of Kumble through the last two days. Hooper, who was caught at short leg off a Kumble no-ball when ten, and missed at slip the next ball, and Chanderpaul both scored their third centuries of the series, at contrasting rates. Hooper took 401 minutes and 278 balls over his 136; Chanderpaul compiled an identical score, but took 675 minutes and 510 balls. On the meaningless last day, while Jacobs entertained his small home-town crowd with the quickest hundred of the match - completed in 172 balls, with his fifth six - Chanderpaul scored 56, including just five fours, off 242 balls in five and a half hours. This took him past Jacques Kallis's record of 1,241 minutes without dismissal in Tests set earlier in the season; he was still there when the captains mercifully agreed to call the whole thing off.
Man of the Match: A. Ratra.
Close of play: First day, India 226-3 (Dravid 86, Ganguly 41); Second day, India 462-6 (Laxman 124, Ratra 93); Third day, West Indies 187-3 (Sarwan 50, Hooper 26); Fourth day, West Indies 405-5 (Chanderpaul 80, Jacobs 18).