India posts emphatic 8-wkt win to clinch series

Published: Sunday, October 20, 2002, 20:01 [IST]
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Chennai: India ended a 23-year wait when it clinched a three-match series against the West Indies with an emphatic eight-wicket victory on the fourth day of the second Test on Friday. India, which won the opening match by an innings and 112 runs at Mumbai, made 81-2 to wrap up the first Test series against the West Indies since 1979 when Sunil Gavaskar's team triumphed 1-0 in six home Tests. The hosts did not require the services of skipper Saurav Ganguly as Virender Sehwag celebrated his 24th birthday with a smashing 30-ball 33 in a stand of 50 for the opening wicket with Sanjay Bangar (20). Sachin Tendulkar (16 not out) finished the job 42 minutes after lunch when he cut off spinner Gareth Breese for the winning three runs in front of nearly 35,000 spectators. Rahul Dravid was unbeaten on six. Ganguly was taken off the field on a stretcher after colliding with Anil Kumble while trying to catch a skier off West Indian batsman Pedro Collins at mid-wicket. The Indian skipper, who hurt his back during the collision, is expected to be fit for the third and last Test starting at Kolkata on October 30. He is now just one win away from equalling former captain Mohammad Azharuddin's Indian record of 14 Test victories. The Indian triumph was scripted by off spinner Harbhajan Singh (4-79) and paceman Zaheer Khan (3-23) who yet again exposed the West Indies batting limitations on slow pitches. The West Indies was shot out for 229 in its second innings after conceding a 149-run lead, losing its last six wickets for a paltry 21 in a sensational collapse against a disciplined Indian spin-pace combination. The tourists were 208-4 after resuming at 186-4 before being all out 46 minutes before lunch. Harbhajan was not the sole tormentor of the West Indies as left-arm fast bowler Zaheer also made survival difficult for the tourists with his probing line and length in his incisive 4.4-2-6-3 morning spell. The 22-year-old Harbhajan, the first bowler to claim 50 Test victims this calendar year, began the slide with three wickets off five balls in his ninth over of the morning session played under lights due to poor visibility. He dismissed Ryan Hinds and Breese off successive deliveries before trapping Mervyn Dillon leg before. Dillon denied Harbhajan a hat-trick with a defensive push and swung the next ball for a four before being adjudged leg before by Sri Lankan umpire Asoka de Silva off a fuller-length delivery that appeared to have hit the bat. Zaheer dashed the tourists' hopes of setting a challenging fourth-innings target with the prize wicket of Ramnaresh Sarwan in his opening over of the morning. Sarwan added 16 to his overnight score of 62 before being trapped leg before while trying to work the ball on the on-side. He struck two sixes and four boundaries in his 218-ball 78, but again failed to convert his half-century into a three-figure mark in 26 Tests. Sarwan has scored 14 half-centuries since making his Test debut against Pakistan at Bridgetown in 1999-2000, but is still looking for his maiden hundred. The panic set in after Sarwan's dismissal as the lower-order batsmen tried to chance their arms and fell against the Harbhajan-Zaheer duo. Man-of-the-match Harbhajan, who took seven wickets in the second innings at Mumbai, began it when he had Hinds caught by Kumble in the covers. Hinds went for a big heave but mistimed it to offer a simple catch after adding six to his overnight score of one. Breese made a forgettable Test debut as he was caught by Ganguly at backward short-leg off Harbhajan for no score. He had made five in the first innings. Zaheer did not allow the West Indies' tail to wag, having Ridley Jacobs caught by wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel and then bowling last-man Jermaine Lawson for two with a yorker.

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