Kingston (Jamaica): Pedro Collins emerged as a surprise star with three wickets to put the West Indies on the verge of winning the fifth and final Test against India here on Tuesday.
The left-arm fast bowler dismissed a dangerous-looking Sachin Tendulkar for 86 to dash India's hopes of successfully chasing a record 408-run target to win the match and series, currently tied at 1-1. India wobbled after Tendulkar's departure, reaching 237 for seven at stumps on the fourth day at the Sabina and needing 171 more runs to win with three wickets in hand. Wicket-keeper Ajay Ratra was batting on 16 with tailender Zaheer Khan (4). Fast bowler Adam Sanford then saw to it that Collins' brilliant effort did not go waste as he finished with three for 48 off 19 overs on a day when strike bowlers Mervyn Dillon and Cameron Cuffy went wicketless. Only two teams have so far chased a target of more than 400 in the fourth innings to win a match in the history of Test cricket, with India scoring 406 for four against the West Indies at Port of Spain in 1975-76 and Australia making 404 for three against England at Leeds in 1948. India's chances of repeating the 1976 feat largely depended on Tendulkar, who returned to form with a blazing knock after scoring just 49 in his previous five Test innings. Collins, however, swung the match in his team's favour in his opening over after tea when he knocked back Tendulkar's off stump with the one that kept a bit low. Tendulkar posed the main threat to the West Indies with his rich and exciting stroke play during his 32nd half-century in 96 Tests, hitting 13 fours in his 139-ball knock before playing a wrong line to be bowled. He shared a 93-run stand for the fourth wicket with skipper Saurav Ganguly (28), who along with Venkatsai Laxman fell to poor shot-selection. Tendulkar, 28, also became the 10th batsman in the world to complete 8,000 Test runs when he reached 82 in the last over before tea, cutting off spinner Carl Hooper for his 12th four. Tendulkar raced to his half-century with a flurry of shots, square-driving and pulling Dillon for two successive fours and then driving through mid-wicket for a three to complete his 50 off 83 balls. Ganguly departed six runs after Tendulkar, pulling Sanford straight to Ramnaresh Sarwan at square-leg to leave his team tottering at 176 for five and praying for rain. Laxman, the last specialist batsman, became Sanford's third victim after having batted well for 65 minutes as he was caught pulling by Dillon, who ran back to take an acrobatic catch at mid-wicket. The tourists' plight would have been worse had Hooper not dropped Ratra at second slip off Sanford when the batsman was on nine. India had made a shaky start in pursuit of a record target as it faltered against Collins, who removed both the openers in the space of six runs in his first two overs. Collins rocked India with a wicket in his opening over, having Wasim Jaffer caught flicking by Wavell Hinds at forward short-leg for seven. He then trapped Shiv Das leg before for 10 in his next over to end a disappointing tour for the opener, who contributed 124 in five Tests without a half-century. India suffered another blow when Rahul Dravid (30) was adjudged leg before off Sanford after looking solid during his 78-minute stay at the crease. Dravid had been middling the ball well in his 58-ball knock, hitting six fours before he departed looking a bit surprised by Zimbabwean umpire Russell Tiffin's decision. Earlier, Collins had troubled India as a batsman when he scored a career-best 24 as the hosts lost their remaining three wickets for 32 in 8.2 overs after resuming at 165for seven. He chanced his arms, hitting two fours in his 75-ball knock to ensure his team gained an overall lead of more than 400. He added 20 to his overnight score of four before being bowled by Harbhajan Singh while trying to pull. Shivnarine Chanderpaul was the first to go, lofting Zaheer over mid-on for a boundary and then offering a return catch in the same over after adding four to his overnight score of 55. The left-hander batted 172 minutes for his second successive half-century, playing a major role in his team scoring 116 for the last five wickets.
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