Shivnarine Chanderpaul is the last link between the era dominated by Brian Lara and the predominantly young West Indies side currently touring India. On Sunday, at the Firozshah Kotla ground, the 37-year-old left-hander showed once again why he has survived in international cricket for so long.
Effective as always
Still facing mid-wicket with an open stance while the bowler ran in before getting side-on at the last moment, Chanderpaul had an answer to everything India threw at him. Spin or pace made little difference as he ground out the attack on way to an unbeaten 111 off only 167 deliveries with seven fours and two sixes.
By the end of the day, he was leaving deliveries outside his off-stump with what can only be described as disdain as the Indians gave up on the idea of getting him out and tried to stop him from scoring runs instead.
After Darren Bravo had committed hara-kiri in the first over after lunch, West Indies appeared to be in trouble at 72 for three. That is when Chanderpaul joined the youngster who grew up idolising him.
Teenaged opener Kraigg Brathwaite is a right-hander, but shares Chanderpaul's love for long stints at the crease. He also likes to score his runs slowly, mostly through nudges behind the wicket - traits usually associated with Chanderpaul's batting.
On Sunday, however, Chanderpaul had other lessons for Brathwaite: for example, how to increase the scoring rate without taking an iota of risk.
The nudges were there as were the quick singles to rotate the strike. But Chanderpaul also came down the wicket twice to dispatch off-spinner R Ashwin and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha over the long-on boundary.
The short balls were cut to the boundary but Chanderpaul eschewed the sweep till he was on 46 and then unfurled two in quick succession, the second one taking him to fifty. When he got to his century, it was with another sweep.
Indian love affair
Chanderpaul has always done well against India. His impressive average of 49.76 in 136 Tests goes up to 71.59 in his 22 matches against India. Seven of his 24 Test centuries have also come against them. His previous century against India had come in the drawn third Test in Dominica.
'What do you eat when you play India?' Chanderpaul was asked at the press conference after play. "Tomorrow, I plan to fast in honour of Lord Shiva," said Chanderpaul. Was he joking? "He never jokes," said the West Indies media manager.
The problem for India is Chanderpaul also talked about batting long on Monday.