Coming into the day 4th of the first test between West Indies and India, being played at Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua, the Indian team had an impeccably strong hold on the outcome of the match with a win looking possible in all likelihood for the Indian team – a trail for the West Indies in excess of 300 runs was never going to make them a candidate to fight back into the match, at least not with their current batting unit.
A win for the Indian team would also mean the first win of Kumble’s career, well, in his career as a coach that is. Kumble led India to many great victories as a captain, the Natwest Series in England played aftermath of the disastrous 50 over world cup campaign earlier in the year is a fine example of his credentials as a man who fights the odds and brings the best out of his team. Now he has the coach hat on and the Indian team came into day 4 with the probability of it being the last day of the match.
Of course though, in cricket there’s never an end until everything has actually ended and stumps are taken off – for that to happen though, West Indies at least had to bat majority of the last 2 days of the match or else there was no way out.
Having lost one wicket during the last bits of day 3, West Indies now had only 9 wickets in hand or to be put more precisely – West Indies needed to contain these 9 wickets and India needed to take 9 wickets before 300 runs to win the match.
Very early into the day, the West Indies batting unit was hit by the major fall of wicket, that of Darren Bravo. As we discussed during our last day report, Bravo sure has great caliber as a batsman but it’s his inconsistency that costs West Indies many a times.
We equally discussed the weightage of Samuels as a batsman in the team and he proved just how crucial he is with the bat – till he lasted i.e. 50 in 85 balls before getting LBW to Ashwin, West Indies batting unit looked confident and hopeful of some revival but on the other end just when thing started to look a little better, a collapse took place – much like the first innings. West Indies went from 88-3 to 106-6, subsequently getting to 8 down for 132. Out of these 8 wickets, Ashwin had 5 to his name – Chandrika, Samuels, Blackwood Chase and Holder.
0, 8, 9 and 16 is how the middle order fared for the West Indies team, with Blackwood, Chase and Dowrich each failing to get into double figures, Holder being the only exception with 16. Once West Indies fell to 8 wickets, the tail enders showed exactly what application should be shown in a crunch match.
Brathwaite (not a tail ender technically but batting at 8th down) along with Bishoo had a partnership of 67 runs at the stroke of tea – with West Indies still trailing by 122 runs.
Upon coming back to the crease after tea, Brathwaite smashed a huge six over mid-on off Mishra and soon reached his fifty but Ashwin’s spin at other end left West Indies with no “doosra’ but to succumb to the fine off spinner’s spin wizardry – who picked up 7 wickets in the innings, winding up an innings victory for India. Bishoo got out for 45 but Brathwaite carried his bat for 51 in 82 balls.
India wins the first test by an innings and 92 runs.