WI avoid sweep
MUMBAI – West Indies snatched a thrilling draw with the scores level to deny India a series clean sweep on the final day of the third test earlier today.
Needing two runs off the final ball, the last wicket pair of Ravichandran Ashwin and Varun Aaron could manage only a single when Ashwin was run out attempting an improbable second run.
It was only the second time that a test has been drawn with the scores level. The other instance was when England failed to beat Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 1996.
Seventeen wickets fell on the Wankhede Stadium pitch, which had been a batting paradise on the first four days with both teams posting huge first innings totals.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni expressed surprise at the sudden change in the character of the pitch.
“Frankly I really don’t know what happened. It started to turn in the morning. Till yesterday everything was fine. It was among the flattest of wickets,” Dhoni told reporters with a wide grin on his face.
“Something happened in the morning and it started to turn. Most of us thought it would be a draw but it turned into a close game.”
In the morning, the West Indies batsmen, put under pressure by the generous turn on offer, played some atrocious shots and helped India’s spinners give life to a match that had looked like ending in a draw for the past two days.
Resuming on their overnight score of 81 for two, the tourists succumbed meekly in just 95 minutes in the morning, losing their last eight wickets in 23.2 overs as Pragyan Ojha (6-47) and Ashwin (4-34) ran riot.
It was the third time in the series that the tourists had collapsed in one of their two innings. They made 180 in their second innings in the first test in Delhi and 153 in their first innings in the second test in Kolkata.
“I think we took the position for granted, knowing that we scored 590 in the first innings, we relaxed a little,” said West Indies captain Darren Sammy.
“Some of the shots we played were not called for and we paid the price for it. I knew the coach will definitely talk about it, like I said, we have to bat well in both innings of a test match.”
Sammy would take heart from the performance of 22-year old left-hander Darren Bravo, cousin of former batting great Brian Lara, who made 404 runs in the series with two hundreds.