Gros Islet (St Lucia)
India took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-Test series against West Indies after winning the third Test by 237 runs on Saturday.
The visitors looked slightly defensive by opting for a larger total to declare on the fifth day but West Indies walked into the trap of thinking too much about an impossible 346-run target rather than spending time at the crease.
In the end they folded for 108 in 47.3 overs with about a session of play left. It was their third Test series win on the trot in the Caribbean, having secured the 2006 and 2011 series.
India’s ascent in this Test was quite quick in the last two days. They required 53.6 overs to bowl out West Indies before taking up 48 overs to score 217 at a rate considerably better than in the last two Tests. Ajinkya Rahane stayed unbeaten on 78, and had it not been for two contentious decisions, India could have scored more and lost fewer wickets.
ENOUGH TIME FOR BOWLERS
When India captain Virat Kohli finally declared the innings at the fall of R Ashwin’s wicket, they still gave themselves 87 overs to dismiss West Indies for the second time. It was more than enough.
Leon Johnson was the first to depart when he played straight into Rohit Sharma’s hands at short leg. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was responsible for opening up the Test with a five-wicket haul the previous day, then came to the fore by setting up Kraigg Brathwaite with a few away-swingers before bringing it in to rap him on the pads for a pretty straightforward leg-before.
The most experienced pair of Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels should have tried to bat West Indies out of trouble but they never looked comfortable against the probing length bowled by India’s pacers. Bravo ultimately scored his first half-century of the series but his teammates couldn’t replicate the effort they produced to draw the Jamaica Test.
Samuels couldn’t have been any worse. He took a knock on his arm after failing to move away from a Shami delivery that was pitched short and angled into his body. The same over, Samuels was tested by another short ball that struck his glove. Other than those two deliveries though, Samuels was attacked on his off-stump and given little room to hit. It played on his mind to produce an irresponsible shot, staying back and trying to play a cut to an Ishant Sharma delivery that moved in and stayed a little low to send his off-stump cartwheeling.
Ishant kept up his good work by dislodging Roston Chase with a lovely inswinger that crashed into the stumps after sneaking through his soft defence but it was Jermaine Blackwood’s wicket, beautifully stumped by Wriddhiman Saha, off Ravindra Jadeja that gave hope that India could steal a win. When Shane Dowrich was caught by Kohli at second slip, off Shami, it was just a matter of time before India ensured the series victory.