West India set 392 to winAlex Crampton |
Today was more like the usual at the Antigua Recreation Ground. Over 300 runs were scored for the loss of four wickets, but there is a good chance of a result tomorrow.
Once a brief rain delay was over Dravid and Jaffer began where they left off yesterday. Both looked good early on, but it was soon clear that it was Jaffer who would be doing most of the scoring. Dravid was to score just 62 runs in their 203-run partnership, taking 177 balls before he top edged a sweep of Dave Mohammed.
Jaffer was impressive, and more aggressive than he was yesterday. He punished the West Indian bowlers when they erred in length, and heaved Dave Mohammed into the stands. He brought up his well-deserved double century, a first in Tests. He wasn’t able to push on much further though, he was bowled by Ian Bradshaw for 212.
Had West Indies used the new ball better, it may have been a different story. They lacked Fidel Edwards’ pace, Corey Collymore and Bradshaw both bowled wide, and the two edges they did get flew out of Chris Gayle’s reach at slip.
Both breakthroughs they did manage to get came just before the tea interval, where India were 378-4, with Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif fairly new at the crease. The bowlers had done a good job of restricting the Indians, but they were still building a good lead, and were building a good platform for a late assualt.
It continued in the same vein after the break. Yuvraj and Kaif added 41 in 17 overs, but the partnership was broken when Yuvraj’s powerful drive found a diving Chanderpaul at cover.
The arrival of Mahendra Singh Dhoni is always likely to bring some form of excitement, and today was no exception. As usual, he began fairly circumspectly, scoring 27 off his first 32, with four boundaries.
From there, he went berserk, as we have seen so often in ODIs. The next 20 balls yielded six maximums and 42 runs. Each of these was off Dave Mohammed, including three in succession in one over.
As he attmepted a fourth in a row off the chinaman bowler, he found Daren Ganga at deep mid-wicket, who claimed he had taken the catch inside the ropes. The umpries wre unceratin, and referred it to the third umpire. The TV replays were inconclusive, and after much deliberation, they decided Dhoni would be allowed to carry on batting. Brian Lara objected to this, and intervened. After a long discussion between Lara, Dhoni and the umpires, Dhoni decided to take Ganga’s word, and was out caught for 69 as India declared on 521-6.
This left West Indies with a potentially tricky spell to bat out, but Gayle and Ganga managed to stay in, and they closed on 13-0, still 379 more required. Tomorrow could be interesting if West Indies chase the target, but a draw is the more likely option.
Rahul Dravid 49, Varinder Sehwag 36
Dwayne Bravo 4/40, Corey Collymore 3/27
West Indies 371
Chris Gayle 72, Dwayne Bravo 68
Anil Kumble 3/86, Munaf Patel 3/80
India 521-6 dec
Wasim Jaffer 212, MS Dhoni 69, Rahul Dravid 62
Dave Mohammad 3/162
West Indies 13/0
Daren Ganga 10*, Chris Gayle 2*