Second Test Match

Sidhu strikes

Toss: West Indies. Test debut: M. Dillon.

India held the upper hand but lacked the aggression to tighten their grip. Their cause was not helped by another depressingly slow pitch. Runs came at just 2.4 an over and only 26 wickets fell in 429.1 overs. Bowlers' frustrations were accentuated by unsympathetic umpires who granted only two lbw appeals. West Indies could not get going after Walsh discounted local advice and batted. Their difficulties were typified by Lara, who scratched 14 off 51 balls. When Kumble collected a waist-high return catch off Murray, his fourth wicket, the innings was a shaky 169 for six. It was revived by Holder's positive attitude and his half-century partnerships with Ambrose and the forthright Rose. Holder was nine short of a hundred in his second Test when he was beaten through the air by Joshi, having batted flawlessly for almost five hours.

Ambrose struck with his second ball, pinning Laxman on the back foot in front of middle stump, but West Indies could not claim another wicket until the third ball next morning, when Ambrose breached Dravid's defence with one that kept low. By then, Dravid and Sidhu had added 171 and Sidhu had passed his seventh Test hundred. India consolidated their position as Tendulkar gained confidence. But Sidhu's deceleration cost valuable time. He scored only 94 on the third day, when India advanced by 196 off 90 overs, and he put on 174 with Tendulkar, whose dismissal just before the close, run out by Walsh's snappy pick-up and direct hit from mid-off, was a decisive setback. The following day, no one took a positive lead: India's last seven added only 69 in 30 overs of quality fast bowling, especially from Ambrose and Mervyn Dillon, playing his first Test as replacement for Bishop.

Sidhu needed three-quarters of an hour that morning to score four and reach his first double-century in Tests; two balls later, Ambrose's yorker diverted from his boot into leg stump. Chances in the 170s and his pedestrain rate were the blemishes on Sidhu's marathon, which included a six and 19 fours. Only the Sri Lankan Brendon Kuruppu had scored a slower Test 200 than his 671 minutes.

India's lead of 140 was less formidable than expected and, with the pitch ever slower, their bowlers needed more time than their batsmen had given them to do their work. Williams and Chanderpaul dropped anchor until the final afternoon, ensuring there were no undue alarms: Williams batted with concentration and judgment that had eluded him in 13 previous Tests, arriving at his maiden Test hundred just before lunch. Tired and bored, he finally hoisted a catch in the deep. He had been in just over seven and a half hours and the match was long since safe.

Man of the Match: N. S. Sidhu.

Close of play: First day, West Indies 239-7 (R. I. C. Holder 71*, F. A. Rose 13*); Second day, India 171-1 (N. S. Sidhu 102*, R. Dravid 57*); Third day, India 367-3 (N. S. Sidhu 196*, S. C. Ganguly 3*); Fourth day, West Indies 118-1 (S. C. Williams 63*, S. Chanderpaul 39*).

© John Wisden & Co