Barbados, Jul 3: India must consider themselves unlucky to have missed out on a golden chance to win the series against West Indies in the second Test at Barbados. But given the way the entire team played to bring the match to the brink of a result despite losing almost two days of game, must silence those who doubt their credentials as the world's number one ranked Test team.
Resuming from their overnight score of 229/3, India tried to up the ante by scoring some quick runs. In their bid to give West Indies a challenging total to achieve with just more than half a days play left, India declared their innings at 229/6 leaving themself 280 run to defend and secure a series triumph.
For India, Laxman scored 87 in the second innings taking his match tally to 172 runs on a pitch where others barely managed to move beyond the 90s in aggregate.
Fidel Edwards took five for 76 runs to emerge as the pick of the West Indian bowlers.
Chasing a target of 280 with more than 65 overs to play, the game was set for a closer finish with either side in with a chance. But Ishant Sharma who bowled as magnificently as he ever did, derailed the West Indian chase by snaring both the openers. Simmons who was bracing up to provide a good platform for his side to chase down the target, was was the first to go. He had scored 14 off 12 deliveries.
Praveen Kumar, then compounded the woes of Ramnaresh Sarwan, by dismissing him for eight. This brought Darren Bravo to the crease, who then went on to play, probably his most defining innings so far.
Soon after lunch, Ishant removed a steady-looking Barath, bringing the old hand of Chanderpaul into the pitch and thus put India in a serious chance of winning the series. And when Harbhajan accounted for Chanderpaul after a typically slow but defiant innings India began to sniff a chance.
Samuels' departure meant India needed five more wicket to seal the series. And with Ishant Sharma spitting fire there seemed no chance for the West Indies' batsmen to win the match. But Bravo alongwith Baugh had other ideas as they played with a positive intent with giving a damn for the result.
The duo put on 71 runs in 16-odd overs before Bravo was snared by Mithun. Baugh was unbeaten on the other side when Sammy was dismissed by Ishant Sharma. With Rampaul in company, Baugh had a further 79 runs to chase and India needed three wickets more to bring a result to the match.
But as has been so far in the match, rain played a spoilsport to bring to a premature end to what was until then a riveting contest on the final day.
Ishant Sharma took four wickets in the second innings to take his match tally to 10 wickets.