Taylor bundles India out for 200
At a venue that has traditionally been a West Indian citadel, their pace bowlers brought back memories of the long-gone glory years with some menacing, incisive and disciplined bowling that left India in disarray after they had elected to bat first. Jerome Taylor evoked Jamaican legends like Michael Holding with a consummate display that fetched him figures of 5 for 50. Only a magnificent 81 from the redoubtable Rahul Dravid, and a typically gritty 45 from Anil Kumble, spared India more ignominy as they were bowled out for just 200.
Corey Collymore, whose love affair with Sabina Park continues, was the unfailingly accurate tourniquet, while Taylor was the blast from the past, discomfiting every batsmen with searing pace and variations in line and length. In an exceptional burst during the second session, he beat both Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif for pace, and only Dravid's tremendous technique and obduracy prevented abject humiliation.
Pedro Collins had started the slide as early as the third ball, as Virender Sehwag played one off his legs for Ramnaresh Sarwan to pouch an outstanding reflex catch. Unfortunately for Sarwan, a meaty pull from Wasim Jaffer then struck him just below the left knee, prompting lengthy attention and a stretcher off the field. By then, India had already had a reprieve, with VVS Laxman edging a Collins delivery just short of Chris Gayle at slip.
Collins continued to beat the bat with angled deliveries, but it was Taylor's turn to celebrate next when Jaffer was too late to bring his bat down. The crowd loved what was once a common sight - a West Indian fast bowler in full flow, and a batsman looking back to see his stumps splayed.
There was to be no collapse in the wake of that though. Dravid came in and was right away into straight-dead-bat mode, and with Laxman also in a defensive shell against some top-notch bowling, the scoreboard operator could put his feet up and snooze. Collymore's introduction, after Taylor and Collins had combined for 12 overs that cost eight runs, ratcheted up the excitement but Brian Lara's failure to hold on to an edge off Laxman's bat rather dampened the spirits.
It took 19 overs for the first four of the innings - a Dravid push down the ground off Dwayne Bravo - and apart from a delicate Laxman glide down to third man, that was as good as it would get when it came to aggressive intent in the first session.
Laxman, who had struck a superb century in the last Test, resumed after lunch with a peachy on-drive off Bravo, but a dart outside off stump then sent him on his way. Yuvraj Singh, who replaced him, promised much, with a couple of splendid flicks through the on side and a gorgeous back-foot square-drive off Bravo, but Taylor's return signalled the end of that particular purple patch.
The perfect yorker dismissed Yuvraj, and there was twice the injury with the bruised foot forcing him to limp off. In his wake came Mohammad Kaif, who appeared to be auditioning for a role in the remake of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The sharp bounce off a good length had him in all sorts of bother, and he was extremely fortunate to see Daren Ganga tip over an edge to gully.
But Taylor was far from finished, consistently clocking near 90mph. After Kaif had struck notes of defiance with a fluid cover-drive and a powerful pull, the lethal weapon - the perfume ball - delivered the inevitable breakthrough. By the time a Dravid edge fell just short of Runako Morton, the substitute fielder, India were on the ropes. Collymore then sent them one step closer to the canvas, as an irresponsible cut from Mahendra Singh Dhoni only delighted the slip cordon.
Kumble sparked the revival with some trademark deflections to the third man fence and the heart of a fighter. Dravid cut and drove Gayle for four to ease past 50, and as the shadows lengthened, the pitch appeared to be easing out. Lara tried Shivnarine Chanderpaul's legspin, but neither Dravid nor Kumble was remotely fazed by it, and it was left to the pace bowlers to halt the 93-run recovery.
Bravo accounted for Kumble, and after the new ball had been taken in the 82nd over, Collymore and Taylor dealt the final blows. A beautiful delivery from Collymore ended Dravid's 215-ball resistance, and Taylor saw off S Sreesanth and Munaf Patel before wheeling away to savour what could be the first of many five-wicket hauls. On a day exemplified by his 95mph yorker to Kumble, who somehow kept it out, it was only fitting that Taylor had the last word.
How they were out
Virender Sehwag c Sarwan b Collins 0 (1 for 1)
Worked off the hips, splendid reflex catch at forward short leg
Wasim Jaffer b Taylor 1 (3 for 2)
Beaten for pace by a delivery that darted in just a touch
VVS Laxman c sub (Morton) b Bravo 18 (34 for 3)
Played away from the body, edged to gully. Good low catch
Yuvraj Singh lbw Taylor 19 (58 for 4)
Beaten by a searing yorker that homed in on the boot
Mohammad Kaif c Lara b Taylor 13 (78 for 5)
Undone by steepling bounce, gloved to second slip
Mahendra Singh Dhoni c Bravo b Collymore 3 (91 for 6)
Went for the cut too close to the body, easy picking for third slip
Anil Kumble b Bravo 45 (184 for 7)
Inside-edged a lifting delivery back onto his stumps
Rahul Dravid c Ramdin b Collymore 81 (197 for 8)
Feather touch to a ball that was pitched perfectly in the corridor
S Sreesanth b Taylor 0 (200 for 9)
Played on, via glove and pad
Munaf Patel c Ramdin b Taylor 0 (200 all out)
Tried to sway away from a bouncer, gloved behind
Dileep Premachandran is features editor of Cricinfo