India force a win; take series with one still to go
Indian Cricket team (Image Source: Facebook)
West Indies must be shell shocked to end up as the losing side after starting the 3rd test brilliantly. They were in a good position by the end of 2nd and the 3rd day but India came out better when it mattered the most. In numbers, India won by a whopping 237 runs to take an unbeatable lead of 2-0 after the 3rd test of the 4 match series. This is the first ever occasion when an Indian team has won more than 1 match in a test series in West Indies. It is no doubt, a historic win for India and the first series win for Anil Kumble as the Indian coach.
West Indies, after a strong finish in the 2nd test match, started with a lot of confidence and belief. They chose to bowl first and bowled with a lot of purpose. They had the in-form Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli early to rock the Indian batting order and a after a brief halt by KL Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane, they struck again. The Windies bowlers had India on the mat on the first day itself when they reduced India to 126 for 5, but a patient and gutsy partnership of 213 between R. Ashwin and Wridhiman Saha rescued the team to take them to a respectable total. In the process, both the batsmen brought up their centuries. For Saha, it was his maiden ton while Ashwin had the 2nd for the series.
Just when it looked like that India was out of the jail, Windies bowlers came back and that too with vengeance. They knocked off the last 5 Indian wickets in a space of just 14 runs to restrict them to 353 runs in their 1st innings. West Indies started confidently with the bat as well by putting up a half century stand for the opening pair of Braithwaite and Johnson. They finished the 2nd day placed comfortably at 107 for 1.
The 3rd day of the test was completely washed off due to rain to almost wipe off any chances of a result. With just 2 days to go and 9 West Indian wickets still left in their 1st Innings, a draw looked to most possible outcome. West Indies started the 4th day decently but as they lost their 4th wicket on the score of 202 runs, the floodgates opened. Coming back after the lunch break, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar brought havoc on the West Indian batting order. West Indies lost their last 7 wickets for just 23 runs, with Bhuvaneswar picking 5 of those in a spell of some immaculate swing bowling. Windies folded for 225 runs handing away a lead of 129 runs to India.
With about 4 and a half sessions remaining in the game, it was upon India to take the impetus to force a result in the match. They came to bat with purpose as KL Rahul started in a positive fashion to get some quick runs for the team. Virat Kohli failed for 2nd time in the match with all other batsmen chipping in with some useful runs. India finished day 4 with 157 for 3 in 39 overs, with Rohit Sharma batting on 41 and Rahane not out on 51.
The fifth day of a test match is generally the most exciting one and it was surely going to be a great one. India kept going for quick runs and kept losing wickets in the process. India scored 60 runs in 9 overs in the morning session with Rahane unbeaten on 78. When the Indian captain declared the innings on 217 for 7, with a lead of 346 runs and 87 overs remaining in the day, it was all upon the West Indian batsmen to decide the fate of their team.
As they would have hoped for, the Indian bowlers were right on the money form ball 1 and by the end of 5th over they had the Windies reeling at 4 for 2. The West Indian batsmen could not decide whether to play for a draw or a win and they paid the price for it. Barring Darren Bravo who faced 100 deliveries for his 59 runs, no other West Indies batsmen applied themselves and crumbled to a disciplined bowling effort from India. All the bowlers were in action and amongst wickets with Shami leading the pack with 3 wickets while Ishant and Jadeja got 2 apiece. India dismissed West Indies inside 48 overs for a paltry 108 runs to give themselves a well deserved series victory.
West Indies were brilliant at times but overall average at best while the Indians applied themselves well to get out of tricky situations on more than one occasions. This is probably what comes with experience.
India: 353 & 217/7 dec
West Indies: 225 and 108.
India won by 237 runs and lead the series 2-0.
Man of the Match: R. Ashwin