Feroz Khan/Zeenews Sports Bureau
Mumbai: A lifeless Test match on the most placid of all tracks aimed at being batsmen’s paradise eventually produced an enthralling match with bowlers being the protagonist and India-West Indies sharing honours in Mumbai with a fitting draw.
Scorecard: India Vs West Indies»
A draw here meant that India took the series 2-0 after defeating West Indies at Kotla and Eden Gardens comprehensively.
R Ashwin was adjudged man of the match for his brilliant all round dispaly at Wankhede. His overall performance where he topped the bowling charts with 22 wickets besides scoring a century earned him man of the series award as well.
India and West Indies produced probably one of the most enthralling drawn Test matches of all times on Saturday and after witnessing a thriller two weeks back involving Australia-South Africa, it would be safe to say that nothing is wrong with Test cricket.
The final day saw the Test match being turned head on as the bowlers lead the charge enforcing a possible outcome in a match which was headed for a certain draw.
It was a Test match that will be remembered for R Ashwin’s all round performances with the bat and the ball. Fittingly, he there in the middle till the last ball was bowled.
Though the icing on the cake would have been an Indian win but nevertheless the character shown by both the teams, fighting hard till the last delivery was bowled serves as a perfect example of Test cricket at its best.
On the final day, the pitch managed to infuse life in an otherwise drab Test. The first four days were completely dominated by the batsmen from both the sides.
However, the first session saw Indian spinners- Ojha and Ashwin ripping through the batting line up of West Indies.
Ojha was especially unforgiving as the left armer scalped 6 wickets with Ashwin ably supporting him by claiming the other four.
It was an irresponsible batting performance from the West Indian batsmen as they seemed to neutralise their first innings exploit by succumbing to the Indian spinners who made the most out of the turning track.
Within the first two hours of the play, West Indies team were sent packing as they managed to add only 53 runs to their overnight total of 81 runs while losing 8 wickets, setting a challenging target of 243 runs in 64 overs for India.
Dominica would have been on the mind of MS Dhoni where India needed to chase down 180 runs in 47 overs but Dhoni agreed on a mutual draw with the opposition captain.
But unlike Dominica, Sehwag was in the team and the maverick started the run chase in his usual fashion hitting a brisk 60 with seven boundaries. Sehwag got out in a strange manner trying to paddle sweep Bishoo getting a top edge, with Sammy completing an easy catch at short fine leg.
A mini collapse followed as Dravid and Tendulkar departed in quick succession providing West Indies some hope of a possible win.
However, after scoring a useful 52 in the first innings, Kohli stepped up with a calm and composed 63 and in the process forged crucial partnership with Laxman (31) to steer India clear out of the trouble. He then was joined by Ashwin (14) as the pair added 35 runs.
Just when the match seemed heading India’s ways, Kohli top edged one to Darren Sammy.
It was an untimely dismissal for the Delhi lad but the youngster showed maturity and the level-headedness during his brief stay in the middle. He sure is a bright prospect for the future and a possible candidate to fill in the boots of Tendulkar at number four.
In the end, Ashwin hung around with the tailenders to provide some heart wrenching moments to the crowd as they fended off a spirited West Indian bowling unit to end up with a draw.
After a dismal tour of West Indies, India received a harsh treatment at the hands of England but the team has been impressive at home and with the upcoming Australian series, this exciting bunch of youngsters look far more prepared and matured to take their stride against an opposition as mighty as the Aussies.