India wins the series in West Indies with flourish

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Bhuvneshwar Kumar took a total of six West Indian wickets in the match.

By Kersi Meher-Homji

News to make you happy on India’s 70th Independence Day. Having won the Test series in West Indies comfortably at St Lucia on the 13th August, India will go all out to win the final Test starting on the 18th.

There is a special incentive for India to win this Test. Currently ranked no. 2 in Test cricket – second to Australia – India has to win the final Test in Port-of-Spain in Trinidad to be certain to reach the top ranking.

A loss or a draw in the Port-of-Spain Test will mean either Pakistan, England, Australia or India can claim the top spot depending on how these teams fare in the next two weeks.

Let’s go back to the Gros Islet Test in the picturesque St Lucia. It wobbled like a yo-yo for the first two days till India took total control on the last two days.

Sent in to bat, India lost her five top batsmen for 126 runs. Then Ravichandran Ashwin (118 runs) and Wriddhiman Saha (104) added 213 runs for the sixth wicket.

Having dismissed India for 353, West Indies were cruising at 1 for 129. Just then India’s fast-medium bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck with a 5 for 33 spell and the Windies lost their last nine wickets for 96 runs to be all out for 225.

Having a comfortable 128 runs lead the Indian batsmen attacked and declared at 7 for 217 with Ajinkya Rahane unbeaten on 78.

Set 346 runs to win, the Windies were shot out for 108 (quickie Mohammed Shami and offie Ashwin taking scalps). India had triumphed by 237 runs and winning the series 2-0 with one Test to start on 18th August.

Ashwin was the Man of the Match although Kumar was as much responsible for this stunning victory.

At the presentation, the victorious Indian captain Virat Kohli said, “We have done quite a few firsts in the last year. In Jamaica we understood the things that went wrong. We corrected those things here on the fourth day. We got seven wickets for 31 runs and that was the game-changer.

“We have always aimed to win series away from India. This is a good start. We made three changes and we understood Rohit [Sharma] needs to be backed at a particular position. I batted at No.3, Jinks [Ajinkya Rahane] at No.4. Rohit is dangerous at No.5. That means I take up the extra responsibility at No.3. I don’t mind that and someone like Ashwin is batting well. And we can play five bowlers. Wonderful, commendable from Bhuvneshwar. He showed the bowlers how to bowl in consistent areas. We lost early wickets here, that’s the way Test cricket goes. I am being too critical but we will look for a complete performance in Trinidad.”

New coach Anil Kumble was equally delighted having won his first series as Team India’s coach.

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