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St Kitts: Sehwag kept Lara on his toes

india Updated: Jun 27, 2006 15:29 IST

West Indies captain Brian Lara has said that the presence of Virender Sehwag was the reason he decided to bat for a few extra overs on the final day of the third cricket Test match.

"With the likes of Virender Sehwag in their ranks, you always want to be cautious. Indians must be given credit for sniffing a win towards the end," Lara said after the match.

Despite being set a stiff target of 392 runs off 88 overs, India took up the challenge from the start through Sehwag's blistering 65 off 75 deliveries, which proved that Lara's fears were not unfounded.

However, the Delhi batsman's dismissal immediately after lunch, and then that of Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the final session, persuaded the visitors to shut shop and leave the series level.

But Lara believed that his team will have the advantage over India when they play the decider starting June 30.

"Going into the final Test, we have a slight psychological advantage. Jamaica is now the ultimate Test, virtually a final," the batting maestro said.

He saw several positives in the way his team played at St Kitts.

"Guys in the team are now coming of age. Gayle, Sarwan, Ganga, Chanderpaul did well. I think the team is beginning to show a lot of maturity. Only I appear to be struggling!

"The fact that we are playing for five days is something the journalists and people haven't seen for a long while. In the past we were beaten badly and with time to spare. I think it is a step forward," Lara said.

"Guys were tremendous in this Test. After couple of days' rest, they should be alright to carry the load again.

"Collymore, Taylor, Collins and Bradshaw were the guys who are still to perform at their best. May be an additional player would be a good choice, but I would still like to see this group (in Jamaica)," the skipper said.

"But if we have to go to our reserve bank to get new players because we have played three hard Tests, it shows some sort of weakness."

Lara stressed on the need for the team to take chances when they presented themselves.

"We bowled well but ran out of steam after nine wickets. This is the kind of opportunity in Test matches which you need to grab to finish the opposition off."

He also hinted that the balance of the team could be tinkered with for the Test in Jamaica.

"We played seven batsmen in this game and made 581 runs but then we didn't have the firepower. We needed an extra bowler to put pressure on the Indians. Whether we are going to field six-four for the final Test is the area we need to think about."

After three drawn games, Lara hoped for a result in favour of his team in the final Test.

"I would love to see the series come to a result. It would be a huge disappointment if all four Test matches finish in a draw. You spend one-and-a-half months playing cricket and at the end of it you want a result," the master batsman added.