Sun, Jul 02, 2006 - Page 22 News List

West Indies make India rue decision to bat first

AFP , KINGSTON

India's Rahul Dravid, left, walks back to the pavilion as West Indies players celebrate his dismissal during the first day's play of the fourth and final Test match in Kingston, Jamaica, on Friday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Jerome Taylor chose the occasion of a Test on home soil to capture five wickets in a Test innings for the first time, and helped West Indies make India rue their decision to bat first in the fourth and final Test on Friday at Sabina Park.

With a modest, but vocal crowd cheering him on, Taylor snared five for 50 from 18.4 overs, as India were dismissed for 200 in their first innings just before stumps were drawn on an absorbing opening day.

Corey Collymore supported Taylor with two for 17 from 19 overs, and Dwayne Bravo collected two for 68 from 24 overs.

India captain Rahul Dravid hit 10 fours in the top score of 81 from 215 balls in close to six hours of batting for the visitors. He added a vital 93 for the seventh wicket with Anil Kumble, who scored 45, that brought some respectability to India's total, after they had subsided to 91 for six just before tea.

Dravid was like the captain on the deck of the sinking Titanic as West Indies bowled with discipline, if not menace, to carve up India's batting on a pitch that offered bounce and movement.

It was a typically dogged innings from Dravid and he drew on all of his experience to hold firm for India as no other frontline batsman showed the level of adaptability that was required.

India had early knowledge that it was going to be a tough day for them when they slid to three runs for two wickets inside the first half-hour.

Openers Virender Sehwag and Wasim Jaffer, both thorns in the West Indies' side in the three previous Tests, failed to survive the opening burst from Taylor and new-ball partner Pedro Collins and were both dismissed cheaply.

Sehwag was caught at forward short leg off Collins for a duck in the first over of the match, and Taylor had Jaffer comprehensively beaten and bowled for one by a delivery moving back in the fourth over.

Dravid came to the wicket and with Venkatsai Laxman put their heads down to defy the West Indies attack and painstakingly carried India to 29 for two at lunch.

Laxman enjoyed a slice of fortune early in his innings when West Indies captain Brian Lara dropped him on five at second slip off Corey Collymore but the home team did not have to wait long to pouch him after the interval.

In the first over after lunch, Laxman was caught at gully for 18 off Dwayne Bravo slicing a drive.

The four-Test series is still level at 0-0, with the first two Tests at the Antigua Recreation Ground and the Beausejour Cricket Ground also ending in draws.

India are seeking a win to clinch a series victory in the Caribbean for the first time in 35 years.

West Indies suffered an early setback in the match when Ramnaresh Sarwan was struck a painful blow below his left knee and had to be stretchered off the field.

He was taken to hospital for precautionary X-rays, which revealed no fractures.

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