Gutsy Kumble breathes life, keeps India in hunt

Published: Monday, May 13, 2002, 9:36 [IST]
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India on the third day proved that nothing could be taken for granted, however dead or docile the pitch might be. When every body was predicting a draw (which is still a prospect), India snapped up three vital wickets for not many to spring back life into the fourth Test match being played at St John's, Antigua.

Chasing 513, West Indies was placed at 187 for three - much more comfortably placed than when Kumble struck to dismiss Lara cheaply with West Indies in serious danger at 135 for three. West Indies is still 127 runs adrift of saving the follow on. What changed an otherwise seemingly drab match was the guts and commitment of one man who wanted to give his country his all, even with a broken jaw and loads of pain. Seeing Sachin Tendulkar trouble the batsmen with his leg spinners and eventually getting rid of the dangerous looking Wavell Hinds (65), Kumble decided to strap his jaw up and walk on to the battlefield - a sight that swept Antigua Recreation Ground with an emotional whiff. In walked Kumble with a puffed up face and a head covered in bandage to grip the proceeding of the remainder of the day.

He hit a length very quickly and within no time had Lara back in the pavilion to unlock a dead game. With the departure of Hinds and Lara in quick succession (121/2 and 135/3) the pressure was squarely on the West Indies. If not for some misfortune Kumble should have also had Hooper back in the hut. However given Hooper's luck through out this series, he survived some extremely tense and tantalizing moments to see the day off with no further loss. First Hooper survived a close shout for lbw, then he was caught off a no-ball and the very next ball was put down at first slip - albeit a very difficult chance. Once Hooper survived that period, he then opened his shoulders and struck a few boundaries.

At the other end Sarwan was playing as cool as he normally does accumulating his runs with minimum of fuss. He notched up yet another half century and remained unbeaten on 50 with his skipper giving him company on 26. Earlier in the day, Ratra duly picked up his maiden century and although he lost Laxman (130) early he played with the tail to help India add vital runs. He remained unbeaten on 115 with India declaring at 513 for nine. India added 51 runs to its overnight score of 462 for six.

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