3rd Test

West Indies v India in West Indies, 2011

Tony Cozier

At Roseau, Dominica, July 6-10, 2011. Drawn. Toss: India. Test debuts: K. A. Edwards, K. O. A. Powell.


The covers stayed on for most of the afternoon session, West Indies v India, 3rd Test, Dominica, 1st day, July 6, 2011
Soggy start: the first Test to be held in Dominica suffered from rain interruptions. © Associated Press
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Dhoni was left to defend his decision to abandon India's run-chase on the final afternoon when, with only 86 needed from 15 overs and seven wickets in hand, he settled instead for the comfort of a 1-0 series win - and a pillorying from the Indian media.

Hearteningly for West Indies, and in a reversal of the trend causing universal concern over Test cricket's future, the events of the last day were watched by a near-capacity crowd of around 11,000 at Windsor Park in the heart of the tiny Dominican capital, Roseau. The venue had already staged four one-day internationals over the previous two seasons, but it now became the 106th ground to host a Test. Sammy cited the local support for inspiring his team to a hard-fought draw, which also owed much to third-innings hundreds from Chanderpaul, in his 133rd Test (a West Indian record), and the debutant Kirk Edwards.

The first innings of the match was eerily reminiscent of those in the first two Tests, except this time it was West Indies' batsmen who struggled (to 204; India had made 246 in Jamaica and 201 in Barbados). After rain - rarely far away on an island that at its highest point records over 300 inches per annum - limited the first day's play to 31.1 overs, Sharma added five wickets to the ten he collected in the Second Test, and it needed Bravo's careful 50 and Baugh's gutsy 60 to scrape them past 200. The prize scalp of Chanderpaul went to Patel, playing his first Test in over two years, while Harbhajan Singh took the two wickets he needed to become the 11th bowler - and the third Indian - to claim 400 in Tests.

Against an already thin attack, further weakened by the absence throughout of Rampaul with a stomach virus, India built a lead of 143. Fidel Edwards, Sammy and Bishoo responded bravely to the demands placed on them, keeping India to three runs an over while Mukund was compiling his first half-century in Tests, until Raina and Dhoni - with his highest score of the series - took advantage of their fatigue late on the third day to add 103.

The tourists had also been kept in check by Baugh's slick keeping,a feature of the series. Standing up to the stumps, he held on smartly to a leg-side deflection to catch Kohli off Sammy, then stumped the in-form Laxman, whose 56 had occupied more than three and a half hours, with a piece of handiwork as dazzling as a magician's. Only the TV replay could confirm that Laxman had lifted his heel for an instant after playing no shot during a speculative spell of leg- spin from Chanderpaul, his first in Tests for four years. In a twinkling, Baugh converted a rare moment of laxity into the dismissal of Laxman.

Fidel Edwards removed Raina with the second new ball, then took three more wickets on the fourth morning during an aggressive spell, but West Indies again stuttered with the bat, slipping to 40 for three. Now Kirk Edwards, a 26-year-old Bajan, and Chanderpaul embarked on their rearguard, adding 161 to give the hosts their first sniff of safety. Edwards was stronger on the leg side, especially on the pull. Chanderpaul simply dug in: literally, to take his guard with a bail; figuratively, as he thwarted yet another attack to compile his 23rd Test hundred. He was 25 when Dravid dropped him at slip off Harbhajan, but that was his only blemish in 343 balls spread over eight hours 21 minutes. It bothered him little that he managed only five fours.

Edwards became the 13th West Indian to score a hundred on Test debut, but only reached three figures courtesy of an overthrow after Chanderpaul had been slow to respond to a quick single to Harbhajan at mid-off. "I forgot that Shiv wasn't that quick," Edwards later joked. But his dismissal on the fourth afternoon jolted the West Indian advance towards a draw: Samuels went in the same Harbhajan over, and Baugh fell in the last of the day, driving Kumar straight to short extra cover.

West Indies led by 80 going into the final day with only the bowlers to come, and they were 113 in front when the No. 10, Fidel Edwards, joined Chanderpaul. But the game turned again as the pair batted for more than two and a half hours - and 222 balls, the most faced during a West Indian ninth-wicket partnership in Tests; Edwards's 30 was a career- best. Even so, India's eventual target of 180 from 47 overs did not seem beyond a team including several batsmen with IPL experience. Although Edwards's late inswinger did for Mukund first ball, it was baffling that they made no genuine attempt at victory.

Man of the Match: S. Chanderpaul. Man of the Series: I. Sharma.

© John Wisden & Co.
 
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