It was the kind of declaration that, at least briefly, brought the Caribbean spirit to the fore as their batsmen hoped for a miraculous win in the drawn second Test against India at the Kensington Oval on Saturday.
Wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh's aggression towards the end finally saw some excitement in the sparsely-populated stands of the famous venue, witness to only massive home wins until a few years ago. Although a final brief spell of rain after tea, and then bad light, ended the clash in a stalemate, the brief charge led by Baugh naturally threw up questions about the timing of the declaration, effected an hour into the morning's play.
However, India skipper MS Dhoni was happy with the turn of events, saying, the visitors could well have won with much to spare, praising Ishant's Sharma's man-of-the-match winning maiden 10-wicket haul. “It is a difficult target to achieve if you are batting for 80-odd overs, not to forget that the outfield was very slow. It was difficult to score freely, unless the bowlers bowled badly,” he said.
“I feel it was a right decision. We didn't know how much rain we would get so it was good enough to get the opposition out.” The West Indies needed around 100 off 20 overs towards the end, but Dhoni said it had been a low-scoring series and the balance was always tilted towards India, who lead the series 1-0.
“It was pretty balanced, not to forget they were five down and we needed two more wickets which we got.”
He praised Ishant, VVS Laxman, who top-scored in both innings, and Rahul Dravid, who added a half-century to go with his match-winning century in the first Test at Kingston.
“Right from the IPL, Ishant has been bowling really well. Everything is perfect, from the seam position. That is why he is bowling with good pace and bounce and in good areas consistently. “He has played a lot of games with Zaheer Khan which meant Zaheer shared his experience with him. And now he is doing the same with the other bowlers, Abhimanyu Mithun and to some extent Praveen Kumar.”
Skipper fined for slow over rate
Bridgetown: MS Dhoni’s mild anxiety over the England tour was apparent after the team was fined a second time within a year for a tardy over rate.
Dhoni was docked 60% of his match fee and the rest of the players 30% for falling three overs short of target in the rain-hit second Test.
There was no hearing since India accepted the ruling by the ICC match referee. As per rules, the team is fined 10% of the match fee while the captain is charged double of that for every over bowled short within the stipulated time.
India were fined for a slow over rate in the tri-series final loss to Sri Lanka in August. A third violation within a year would mean an automatic ban for the captain.
“One more offence and I could miss the Lord's Test,” Dhoni joked. That could become real if Indian bowlers lag in the final Test starting in Dominica on July 6.
Dhoni said the problem was due to the constant rain interruptions and the fact that India fielded three pacemen, who take longer than spinners to bowl the overs.