ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s typically defiant 23rd Test hundred, and two crucial wickets for Ravi Rampaul helped West Indies escape with a draw in the third and final Test against India yesterday.
Chanderpaul was undefeated on 116 that earned him the Man-of-the-Match award, and led the resistance before West Indies were dismissed for 322 in their second innings about 45 minutes before tea on the final day at Windsor Park.
Rampaul then ended the Indians’ interest in chasing 180 for victory with the scalps of Murali Vijay and Suresh Raina, with the visitors finishing on 94 for three, bringing the match to a close with the final 15 overs remaining.
The result meant that West Indies lost the three-Test series 0-1, following a 63-run defeat in the first Test inside four days at Sabina Park in Jamaica. The two teams also drew the second Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
Fidel Edwards followed up his career-best innings of 30 with an early wicket for West Indies, trapping opener Abhinav Mukund lbw for a duck with the first ball of India’s chase
The Indians reached 19 for one at tea, and they were looking set to make a serious assault on the target, when Rahul Dravid and Vijay added 73 for the second wicket.
Vijay got carried away however, and was caught at mid-on off Rampaul for 45, his best score of the series, and Raina, promoted to accelerate the scoring, was caught and bowled by the same bowler four overs later for eight, placing the element of doubt in the minds of the visitors.
Earlier, Chanderpaul had formalised a hundred to lead the West Indies fight, and extend their innings to 294 for eight at lunch.
Starting the day on 73, Chanderpaul reached his hundred from 265 balls, turning Ishant Sharma through square leg for two, becoming the second century-maker in the innings, following Kirk Edwards’ 110 on Saturday that helped to revive the hosts.
Like Edwards, he almost gave it away on 99, when he tucked a delivery from off-spinner Harbhajan Singh to forward short leg, took an exploratory step down the pitch, and was quick enough to regain his ground before the alert fielder Mukund could throw down the stumps.
West Indies, resuming from their overnight total of 224 for six, were ushered over the 250-run mark before their captain Darren Sammy was dubiously caught at forward short leg off Harbhajan Singh for 17, playing defensively forward.
TV replays suggested the ball ricocheted from his pad onto his chest before flying to the fielder, placing the decision of umpire Richard Kettleborough in great doubt.
Three balls later, Rampaul was run out for one, when he failed to beat Sharma’s direct hit at the striker’s end, going for a single.
But Fidel Edwards, whose tail-end exploits with the bat have included a few face-saving partnerships in the past, joined Chanderpaul, partnering him to his milestone, and spending a long time at the crease, further frustrating the Indians.
Edwards shared a vital ninth-wicket stand of 65 with Chanderpaul that blunted India’s hopes of a second victory in the series.
Edwards however, fell to Suresh Raina, bowling his uncomplicated off-spin, when he was caught at long-off before Devendra Bishoo was caught at slip for one off the same bowler.
Raina finished with two wickets for 32 runs from 15.3 overs, but Harbhajan was India’s most successful bowler with four for 75 from 42 overs, and Praveen Kumar captured two for 44 from 21 overs.