Bridgetown: West Indies batsmen led by young Darren Bravo showed gritty resistance to eke out a draw against India in the second Test match at the Kensington Oval thus keeping alive the hopes levelling the series.
Scorecard: India Vs West Indies »
Chasing a competitive target of 281, West Indies reached 202 for seven when the umpires Ian Gould and Asad Rauf decided that light wasn`t good enough to continue although 10.3 mandatory overs were still left to be bowled.
Bravo`s innings of 73 turned out to be the match saving one for the West Indies despite lion-hearted effort from Ishant Sharma (4/53) who ended with a match haul of 10/108.
Barring Ishant, none of the other Indian bowlers looked incisive as Bravo played them with ease hitting eight boundaries. By the time he was dismissed, he had ensured that the home team had little chance of losing the match.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s sporting declaration at 269 for six promised an exciting final day as he provided his bowlers with 83 overs to take 10 West Indies wickets. The home team never tried to make a match of it after losing two quick wickets in the opening session.
The visitors might sniffed victory in the final session when the quick dismissals of seasoned pros Shivnarine Chanderpaul (12) and Marlon Samuels (9) reduced the home team to 132 for five.
But wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh (46 not out) counter-attacked which put paid to any hopes of victory that Indians harboured. India lead the series 1-0 as the two teams now head to Dominica for the third Test starting from July 6.
West Indies were 181 for 5 in the final session, needing another 100 from 18.3 overs--or 111 balls remaining in the match-- when heavens opened up sending the players back to the confines of the dressing room.
The match did resume after 32 minutes and only one over was lopped off but there was more drama in store. Within three balls of resumption, Dhoni had summoned the two umpires about the water which had spilled to the edge of the square while covers were being removed.
Another 15 minutes were spent in the mopping up operation, with even eager Indian players picking up the sawdust to get the game going. No further overs were reduced but what these two interruptions ensured was that bad light, sooner than later, would come into play.
Dhoni brought in his two best bowlers, Ishant and Praveen to force the issue. After a couple of overs from both didn`t work, he tossed the ball to Mithun who promptly obliged with the wicket of Bravo.
Ishant then got his 10th wicket dismissing Darren Sammy (0) with a yorker that caught him plumb.
The two umpires now conferred, another delivery from Ishant was bowled to new-man Ravi Rampaul, before two umpires finally called it off. To cap off the bizarre proceedings, the ground was bathed in sunshine for the next half an hour!
From the 18.3 overs of playing possible before the rain came, only seven overs could be bowled. In all six hours and 12 minutes of play was lost in the match.
Before the rain cruelly intervened, Baugh (46) entertained the crowd with some lusty hitting raising visions of the improbable.
Baugh whose place in the side was in danger before this innings was lucky when rival captain Dhoni dropped a sharp chance off Harbhajan Singh`s bowling with the diminutive glovesman still on naught.
It triggered an aggressive response from Baugh who once swept Harbhajan over midwicket for a six.
Things were going through the motion till the 64th over of the innings when Baugh hit rookie pacer Mithun for three successive fours in the latter`s 12th over.
The first delivery which hoicked to the midwicket fence, the second past slip cordon and the third flicked to fine leg as West Indies suddenly gathered momentum.
Dhoni showed a hint of desperation when he brought on Praveen to stem the rot. The swing bowler from Uttar Pradesh had bowled only three balls when the rain intervened.
The Caribbeans batted with uncharacteristic stubbornness after it lost two early wickets of Lendl Simmons (14 ) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (8 ) to India`s new ball bowlers, Ishant and Praveen.
The turning point for West Indies was the 54 run fourth wicket partnership between Bravo and Chanderpaul. The important thing was the stonewalling by Chanderpaul as he consumed 83 deliveries in the process. The second session saw India taking only one wicket.
The match once again took a twist after tea when Chanderpaul was wrongly given out leg before to Harbhajan with the ball was going way outside the off-stump. It was the first major howler by umpire Gould.
Ishant then earned a leg before decision against Marlon Samuels (9) to get his third wicket of the innings.
Earlier, India, resuming at their overnight score of 229 for 3, added 40 more runs and lost three wickets before Dhoni decided to declare the innings.