2nd Test

West Indies v India in West Indies, 2011

Tony Cozier


VVS Laxman leans into a drive, West Indies v India, 2nd Test, Bridgetown, 4th day, July 1, 2011
Stuck in the eighties: V. V. S. Laxman hits out on the first day of the Bridgetown Test. © AFP
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At Bridgetown, Barbados, June 28-July 2, 2011. Drawn. Toss: West Indies.

Unseasonal rain robbed the game of the equivalent of more than four sessions and denied India a likely victory following Dhoni's challenging last-day declaration. Set 280 in 77 overs, West Indies had reached 202 for seven in 71.3 before, amid increasing tension and with the light fading, India settled for the draw that preserved their series lead.

The pattern of a contest in which the seamers claimed 28 of the 33 wickets to fall on a lively pitch - 20 of them to catches in the cordon and a couple to lifters directed at the body - was set on the first day, when 13 wickets went down for 231. India, sent in, were quickly reduced to 38 for four as Rampaul reached lunch with figures of 8-5-4-3, before Laxman and Raina restored stability with a stand of 117.

But Raina fell to a bat-pad catch off Bishoo - and was later fined a quarter of his match fee for making clear his displeasure at the decision - before Edwards quickly accounted for Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh. Laxman's vigil came to an end when he slapped a Bishoo leg-break to point the over after becoming the fourth Indian to reach 8,000 Test runs.

A total of 201 was below par, but India's seamers redressed the balance by taking three quick wickets before the close, and next morning Sharma removed nightwatchman Bishoo and Sarwan in three balls. On a rain-hit second day limited to 25.3 overs, the fidgety left- hander Chanderpaul and Samuels, stylish and right-handed, checked the decline in their contrasting styles. They added 77 before Chanderpaul diverted Mithun into his stumps on the third morning, having hit a lone four from 117 balls. Sharma swept aside the last three wickets to complete his best Test figures, leaving Samuels high and dry and West Indies 11 runs in arrears.

With the game boiling down to a second-innings shootout, Rampaul again dismissed Vijay cheaply, but India now took control, first through Mukund, then Dravid and Laxman. While Edwards swung the ball at pace to complete his ninth Test five-for, Laxman resisted for more than four and a quarter hours, stroking eight fours with his trademark wristy timing, and dominating partnerships of 65 with Dravid and 78 with Kohli. He missed a century for the second time in the game, but Dhoni's judgment proved spot on as wickets fell at regular intervals following the declaration.

The West Indies top three were all taken in the slips, while lbw decisions accounted for Chanderpaul, whose painstaking 12 ate up 87 balls, and Samuels: with 24.3 overs to go, India needed five wickets. Bravo and Baugh faced the crisis in aggressive style in a stand of 69, with Baugh's swept six off Harbhajan and busy strokeplay bringing to life a crowd that grew as spectators took the ten-minute after-work stroll from the centre of Bridgetown in the hope of a surprise victory.

The dismissals in successive overs of Bravo and Sammy - who provided Sharma with his tenth wicket of the match, the first such Test haul by an Indian in the Caribbean - changed their mood, however, and bad light came as welcome relief as Dhoni finally called off his push for victory. The result preserved West Indies' unbeaten record in nine Tests against India at Bridgetown, but left them needing to win the final match in Dominica to square the series.

Man of the Match: I Sharma

© John Wisden & Co.