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Marks out of 10 for the West Indies squad
July 4, 2006
Quick and accurate, Taylor turned into West Indies' spearhead as the series progressed. He wasn't picked for the first Test at Antigua and took some time to find his groove at St Lucia but transformed into a dangerous proposition in the final two games. His pacy burst on the lifeless surface at St Kitts won many admirers but it was his lethal performance at Kingston that underlined his worth. Getting the ball to lift off a good length, he thrilled his local crowd and was rewarded with his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests. West Indies will hope it is the first of many.
Collymore pegged away all through the series, providing a valuable tourniquet at one end. He was way ahead of the other fast bowlers in terms of his economy-rate (2.33) and always appeared capable of taking a wicket. His spell on the first morning at Antigua floored India and, despite not looking fully fit, maintained his accuracy throughout.
Full of spunk, chipping in with both bat and ball, Bravo, as he had done in the one-day series, often tormented India. He was handy when the ball moved around, producing fine spells in Antigua and Kingston, and put together valuable contributions with the bat. His fielding too was inspirational.
An average of 26.37 after four Tests is a poor showing, especially for a player of Lara's calibre. His 120 at St Lucia was a lesson in application, helping West Indies hang on for a draw, but he had a poor series overall, hardly looking the threat that he once was. His captaincy was erratic, though he later revealed that his hands were tied due to peripheral issues related to team selection. His catching too, while fielding at slip, was below par.
With pressure constantly on his back, Ganga, with a hundred and a fifty, had a satisfactory series. Through his patient century at St Kitts, he allowed the rest of the batsmen to flower around him. He was also the most assured West Indian batsman in the final Test at St Kitts. His catching remained suspect throughout.
Having not made even a fifty in West Indies' last two Test series, Shivnarine Chanderpaul's 301 runs in four games was welcome relief. It was tough to predict his approach - at Antigua, with his side fighting for a draw, he made a glorious fifty; at St Kitts, with his side pushing for a win, he bizarrely turned defensive. The crowd at Sabina Park might have abused him for the reckless stroke he played at the crucial stage of the first innings, but he remained the glue that holds the batting together.
Sarwan couldn't match the consistency he'd shown in the one-day series, ending with a middling average of 32.12. His century at St Kitts strengthened West Indies' position while his fifty in the second innings at Kingston was a marvelous effort under pressure. Getting the big scores when the going gets tough, though, remains his biggest challenge.
Collins might not have even played had Fidel Edwards, his half-brother, not been injured but he manfully toiled away under the given conditions. Like Collymore, he stressed the importance of being accurate while bowling on featherbeds and occasionally got the old ball to reverse as well.
A series of two halves for Gayle, beginning well and ending badly. His three fifties helped provide the boost at the start but, disappointingly, he couldn't kick on to a big score on even one occasion. He ended the innings on a low, grabbing a pair at Sabina Park, his homeground. His offspin was innocuous and his catching in the slips wasn't always safe.
It was only in the first and last innings of the series that one got to see Ramdin's potential as a batsman. His keeping, though, was impressive throughout even though the ball was often dying on him. The calculated manner in which he took on the Indian bowlers at the final stages of the Kingston Test will always remain in memory.
In what was a comeback of sorts, Samuels managed one half-century in the two Tests he played and that too when West Indies were in a comfortable position. The talent he possesses was never in question but his inability to pick the right balls to hit remains a concern. He didn't make too much of an impression with the ball.
In the only match he played, at Antigua, he made a match-saving fifty, one that was filled with some audacious strokeplay. His bowing was patchy - briefly impressing in the first innings before being tonked all over the place in the second.
Edwards was forced to hobble off after suffering a hamstring pull at the start of the second innings at Antigua. By then, though, he had shown what a potent weapon he could be by troubling the Indian batsmen with his fiery spells. His tenacious batting at the end of the game, though, remains one of the enduring memories of the series.
His heroic 25-over spell at Antigua, where he applied the brakes, was the high point of Bradshaw's series. He was, quite bizarrely, under-bowled in the second Test at St Lucia and didn't get a chance thereafter.
Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of CricinfoFeeds: Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
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