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Match, series India

Classy century from Bravo before visitors fall to spin punch. Nikhilesh Bhattacharya reports. Scorecard | Series wins against WI | Eden notes

india Updated: Nov 18, 2011 01:48 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya

Darren Bravo hit a fighting ton at Eden Gardens on Thursday but could not stave off an innings defeat as India sealed the series with a match to spare having answered all the questions an inexperienced West Indies asked of them on placid wickets.

The win by an innings and 15 runs was India’s 75th at home.

Right-arm medium-pacer Umesh Yadav, two Tests old, bowled Darren Sammy and Devendra Bishoo in successive deliveries to finish the match in three-and-a-half days. Yadav’s first victim of Day 4 was Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the man expected to lead the West Indies fightback. Yadav’s four wickets in the second innings — and seven in the match — should book him a place on the tour to Australia at the end of the year.

Spinners resilient
Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin again showed the selectors were right in picking them ahead of an established spinner such as Harbhajan Singh. Bravo and Marlon Samuels hit a number of shots down the ground and through cover, but Ashwin and Ojha kept flighting the ball.

The reward came when Ojha got Bravo to edge to slip and Ashwin trapped Samuels in front with one that was bowled faster.

The huge first-innings lead of 478 helped, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said at the post-match press conference. The West Indies first-innings collapse contributed to the lead but it was mainly due to India’s batting, which has been improving steadily since the first innings of the first Test in Delhi. Three of their batsmen scored centuries here, Rahul Dravid, Man of the Match VVS Laxman and Dhoni.

The only weak link, Yuvraj Singh, was dropped from the third Test. "Having been in and out of the team for some time, it is difficult for him to back himself in Tests," said.

The Bravo show
Bravo insists that Brian Lara is his cousin, and not uncle as reports quoting his mother would suggest, but for fans he seems like a throwback to the graceful left-hander from the previous generation of cricketers.

The 22-year-old half-brother of Dwayne Bravo no longer gets irritated by comparisons with Lara and as his second Test century showed, he may well be on the way to making a name for himself.

Bravo’s 132-run partnership with Samuels (84) for the fifth wicket was the only thing standing between India and victory. Having batted without pads in the nets to solve his problem of getting trapped leg-before against spinners, Bravo ensured his bat came down straighter in attack and defence to score 136 with 16 fours and four sixes.