Bowlers help India clinch series
A collective effort from the bowlers helped India take an unassailable 2-0 lead © AFP
The Indian bowlers put in a stupendous performance on Day five as they combined to bowl out West Indies for a paltry 108 and win the third Test by 237 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series. This was the first time India had managed to win more than one Test in a series in the Caribbean, but that has more to do with cricket's decline in the region more than India's ascendancy.
But India'sa scendancyc annot be completely wiped off, either. At Lunch on Day four, the match looked set for a draw. West Indies had gotten themselves to 202 for 3 and India needed a near-perfect show from their bowlers to make a match out of this. Bhuvneshwar Kumar stepped up with a five-wicket haul to bowl out the West Indies for 225.
Despite that, West Indies had a more than decent chance of drawing the Test. They needed to bat out a tad lesser than they did on the final day of the second Test, to get themselves another draw. India needed another near-perfect display with the ball. But this time around, they were more lethal, more accurate and more ruthless.
Earlier, India had declared 45 minutes into the fifth morning after adding 60 runs to their overnight score of 157 for 3, Ajinkya Rahane top-scoring with 78. Miguel Cummins picked up all four Indian wickets that fell to finish with figures of 6 for 48. That, perhaps, was the only silver lining for the home side.
Having set the hosts a target of 346, India started brightly. Rohit Sharma plucked off a brave catch at short-leg to send Leon Johnson back for a duck, and give India their opening. Bhuvneshwar removed the other opener, Kraigg Brathwaite who had scored 64 in the first innings, soon after. When Ishant Sharma bowled a superb inswinger to send Marlon Samuels' off-stump cartwheeling, the writing was on the wall.
But they still had a middle order that has performed better than expectations so far. India came into the second session not wanting to leave anything to chance. India had found themselves with a better chance to take the game in Jamaica, only to be thwarted by a defiant West Indies middle-order. This time around, there were no such heroics.
Chase and Bravo pushed the score along to 64 for 3 in the second session before the procession of wickets began. Ishant Sharma bettered the ball he had bowled to Marlon Samuels in the morning, and ended Roston Chase's stay at the crease. The right-armer got the ball to nip back in after pitching, and with Chase's feet not moving much, the ball snuck in to uproot the off stump.
Jadeja accounted for Jermaine Blackwood when the batsman went for a vicious cut and could not get his backfoot back in time to the crease. Wriddhiman Saha whipped the bails off, and the third umpire, after much deliberation ruled the decision in India's favour.
West Indies hopes dwindled further when Shane Dowrich was out to Shami. The homeside had slipped to a sorry state at 84 for 6. The collapse, however, was still going on. Two overs later, Jason Holder took off for a run after pushing the ball wide of mid-off. Ashwin threw down the stumps at the non-strikers end, and India were suddenly looking at finishing the game before Tea.
Darren Bravo had been the helpless non-striker as all this unfolded, scoring 59 off a hundred balls. But with pressure mounting, India's fans' voice getting louder and the visitors going for the kill, Bravo succumbed and became Shami's third victim of the innings.
Jadeja wrapped the game up with the wicket of Shannon Gabriel. India had won by 237 runs. Anil Kumble had won his first series as coach of the Indian side. He was out in the balcony with his camera, capturing the winning moments as the team huddled around Virat Kohli to celebrate the series win.
It was the perfect day for the visitors.