It was an uninterrupted third day’s play quite surprisingly at the Windsor Park in Roseau in Dominica with as many as 94 overs bowled. Hosts West Indies had a depleted bowling attack with Ravi Rampaul in the hospital most of the day because of dehydration, Sammy struggling with a hamstring strain and Fidel Edwards getting jaded with the heavy workload under the heat. India made most of it by finishing the day’s play at 308 for 6 to take a lead of 104 runs.
Tale of the Morning Session :
Fidel Edwards provided an ideal start for his side by having Murali Vijay (5 from 10 balls) edge his late outswinger in the third over of the morning. In the 10th over, Skipper Darren Sammy put India on the backfoot at 18 for 2 with a beautiful indipper which went right through the defences of Rahul Dravd (5 from 11 balls). West Indies couldn’t make any further inroads after this as Abhinav Mukund and VVS Laxman looked comfortable at the crease. The left hand-right hand combination carried India safely to lunch at 102 for 2 in 38 overs with Mukund registering a maiden Test fifty while Laxman getting to 30*.
Tale of the Afternoon Session :
There was a quick breakthrough for West Indies after the lunch break with Abhinav Mukund getting caught at shortleg off an inside edge onto the thighpad to a jumping leg break from Bishoo. Mukund departed after a 149-ball 62 which came with 5 fours. Mukund’s stand with Laxman for the 3rd wicket was worth 98 runs. Laxman got another solid partnership going with new man Virat Kohli to take India closer to the West Indian total.
Things changed dramatically around 30 minutes prior to the Tea Break as West Indies got the wickets of Kohli and Laxman almost against the run of play. First it was Virat Kohli getting caught brilliantly down the legside by Wicket Keeper Carlton Baugh who was standing upto the stumps. Kohli (30 from 53 balls) was caught trying to flick Sammy off his pads on the backfoot in the 57th over with India at 168 for 4.
In the 60th over, a well set VVS Laxman was stumped out in a bizarre fashion leaving a widish leg break from Chanderpaul on the backfoot. While Laxman casually was getting ready to face the next ball, he lifted his backleg just a trifle in the air and a hawk-like Carlton Baugh was just waiting for that fraction of the second to whip the bails off to have VVS stumped in shock. Laxman scored 56 from 129 balls with 3 fours. India went to Tea at 182 for 5 in 65 overs with Raina and Dhoni at the crease.
Tale of the Final Session :
The Final Session saw bright sunshine for the first time in three days. The West Indian bowling attack looked very sorry and the pair of Raina and Dhoni kept their heads down to put up a sensible batting show by taking plenty of singles. There was plenty of bowling from Bishoo and Chanderpaul whose leg breaks were mostly harmless and India eased past the West Indies’ first innings lead. Finally in the 91st over, West Indies took the second new ball with Fidel Edwards striking right away when he struck Suresh Raina’s pad infront of leg with a late inswinger which beat a backfoot defence. Raina fell for a well made 50 from 103 balls with 3 fours. His partnership with MS Dhoni was worth 103 runs.
By the close of play, India progressed to 308 for 6 in 98 overs to stretch the lead to 104 runs. Skipper MS Dhoni who was struggling with cramps remained unbeaten on 65* (from 109 balls with 3 fours) in the company of Harbhajan Singh who is on 12* (from 33 balls). Towards the fag end of the day’s play, Ravi Rampaul finally made it on the field. Sammy requested MS Dhoni to allow Rampaul to bowl which the Indian Captain agreed to. However, Umpire Asad Rauf didn’t allow it as Rampaul was away from the field until then and according to rules had to wait for as much time before he could bowl.