West Indies grab thrilling tie

November 26, 2011
Wankhede stadium

by G Patkar

West Indies and India endured a fascinating climax to their Test series with a tie on day five in Mumbai.

India ran out series winners 2-0, but the series will be best remembered for the nail-biting events of today.

It was only the second time in Test match history that both teams finished on exactly the same score after five days of cricket. The other occasion happened in 1998 in Bulawayo when England faced Zimbabwe.

Coming into the fifth and final day it looked as if the match was heading for an uneventful stalemate. The West Indies resumed the day on 81-2 which was a comfortable lead of 189. However, the morning session saw the India spin bowlers turn the game on its head.

R Ashwin (4-34) and Pragyan Ojha (6-47) skittled the West Indies for just 134, setting India an attainable target of 243 for victory on the final afternoon.

India were looking comfortable for the victory at 101-1 needing just over three runs per over. Virender Sehwag was then dismissed for 60, caught by Darren Sammy trying to reverse sweep Marlon Samuels, which triggered an Indian middle order collapse.

Dravid and Tendulkar quickly followed, again to the bowling of Samuels, and India found themselves 113-4. VVS Laxman (31) and Virat Kolhi (63) steadied the ship with a 52 run partnership getting India back to within sight of victory.

Wickets yet again tumbled, and India went into the final over of the match needing just 3 runs for victory with two wickets in hand. This then became 2 from just two balls with R Ashwin on strike. In a bizarre piece of cricket Ashwin appeared to block the fifth ball of the over from Fidel Edwards meaning that India could not lose the game, but would find it more difficult to win it off the final ball.

With all of the West Indian fielders protecting the boundary Ashwin swung the final ball of the match down to long on, but was run out when trying to attempt the second run, leaving the scores tied and the spectators short of breath.

The match was another outstanding advert for Test cricket as the momentum swung backwards and forwards on a final afternoon that will be remembered by all involved.

Chris Murtagh 26/11/2011

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