Vineet Sharma/Zeenews Sports
Mumbai: With 281 on the board and Sachin Tendulkar batting on 67, the Mumbai Test might be heading for a draw as the Master's wait for the all elusive 100th ton remained the only attraction on Day 3.
Sachin Tendulkar kept his date with the home crowd as he slammed a solid fifty, inching closer to the elusive and historical 100th international century.
Prior to that, Rahul Dravid was clean bowled by Marlon Samuels at a score of 82 runs as the scorecard registered 224/3. The duo of Tendulkar and Dravid had forged a handy partnership to take the total past the 200-run mark in the post tea session.
Just before the final session of the day started, ‘The Wall’ Dravid slammed another fifty, his 62nd in Tests, as India went into tea time with 172/2 on the board. He was helped from the other end by Tendulkar who looked in good touch.
Keeping in tune with the force that he is, he became one of those rare cricketers who have scored more than 13,000 runs in the longest format. Dravid also completed scoring 1000 runs in this calendar year.
Gautam Gambhir could not go on to score the big one as he was removed by West Indies paceman Ravi Rampaul for 55. The fall of the second wicket brought an uncharacteristic cheer from the crowd as their anticipation was culminating with local hero Sachin Tendulkar taking the crease.
The duo of Gambhir and Dravid took the total past the 100-run mark with a healthy run-rate. Gambhir was smooth in his shot selection as he slammed his 18th Test fifty to strengthen the run-chase.
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy drew first blood, claiming Virender Sehwag (37) as the scorecard read 67/1. The batsman was bowled while trying to work the ball, not realising the big gap between bat and pad.
Delhi lads Sehwag and Gambhir had started the proceedings for India in their signature style. They were careful of nipping the odd one that moved on the turf but played everything else with confidence, taking the total past 50-run mark in quick time.
With the belter of the pitch ahead of them, the Indians hoped to surpass the efforts of the visitors as stands started filling-in.
Ravichandran Ashwin completed a five wicket haul by claiming the last man Devendra Bishoo (12), restricting the West Indies to 590 all out.
West Indies had started the morning of the third day at Wankehde with the last wicket stand of Bishoo and Fidel Edwards toiling to take the total past 600 runs, but the spin attack of Ashwin was too good for the tailenders.
Interestingly, Ashwin became the Indian bowler with most wickets in debut series in Test cricket.
Not opting to declare, the visitors made clear that every run was important to them and they would not like to bat last on this track.
On Day 2, the West Indies posted 575/9 at stumps, chiefly because of the success of the top batsmen. The testimony to the effort is the fact that for only the second time in Test history, the top six batsmen managed to score over 60 runs.
Darren Bravo was the man who did most of the damage with his 166 runs, looking reminiscent of Brian Lara.