India up against the odds, fighting to stay in

Published: Sunday, May 5, 2002, 9:27 [IST]
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India was up against the odds at the end of the third day of the third Test at Barbados, Kensington Oval. Trailing by 292 runs India was 169 for four with Ganguly and Laxman fighting hard to save India's cause. Earlier West Indies was bowled out for 394 with both Hooper and Chanderpaul registering centuries before the famous West Indian collapse. India started off its second innings on a much sounder note, thanks largely to an immensely impressive knock off the bat of Wasim Jaffer. His partner Das, however, was not in his elements. But given the circumstance, he did appreciably to dig in and stick it out.

The pair put on 80 runs for the first wicket, which would have done the dressing room a lot of good (However, the start was not be taken advantage of as India lost both Dravid and Tendulkar cheaply). Jaffer, definitely looks a very good prospect. He stood up tall and punched the ball through cover and point with great authority. He did most of the scoring while Das was content getting his eye in. Jaffer, in course of time, brought up his fifty and was looking good for more when a brilliant piece of fielding terminated what looked to be a promising innings. Das played the ball straight to point and called for a run only to see Chanderpaul pounce on it and shatter the stumps at the striker's end. The pair of Das and Dravid then virtually ground things to a halt with both batsmen more intent on defence.

However, it also must be said that Cuffy and Dillon bowled an excellent line hardly giving anything away. Cuffy gave away just three runs in his 18 overs. Just when it looked like the pair had the measure of things a stroke of fortune came West Indies' way. Das firmly flicked Dillon to the on side to see the ball stick in Sarwan's hand a forward short-leg. India 101 for two. This wicket suddenly turned things around with Dravid and Sachin departing in close succession. Dravid departed caught behind to Sanford while Sachin was declared lbw to Dillon (India 118 for 4).

India could have things much worse had Sarwan (forward short-leg) held on to a sharp but catch-able chance offered by Laxman who was yet to get off the mark. Ganguly (15) and Laxman (30) then steadied things with some positive strokes putting up an unfinished 51 runs for the fifth wicket. Laxman had another lucky escape when he edged one behind off a no ball.

Earlier, Hooper and Chanderpaul continued to pound the Indians. Hooper, in particular was in attacking mode bringing in his hundred with three boundaries of one Nehra-over. But once Hooper departed trying to up the tempo West Indies folded up for the addition of just 18 runs - Chanderpaul scoring most of it and in the process getting to his second century of the series. Chanderpaul remained not out on 101. The pair put on 215 for the fifth wicket - Hooper departing at 376. For the West Indies, Dillon was the most successful picking up two vital wickets.

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