Windies chase 392 after Indian fightback
by AFP

Ground:Antigua Recreation Ground, St John's
Scorecard:West Indies v India
Player:D Mohammed, MS Dhoni, RS Dravid, W Jaffer

DateLine: 6th June 2006


A day of high drama on Monday ended with West Indies chasing 392 for victory in the opening Test against India at the Antigua Recreation Ground.


The controversial dismissal of Mahendra Dhoni however, took the gloss off a fine maiden Test double-hundred from opening batsman Wasim Jaffer that helped India declare their second innings on 521 for six.


With five overs available to them before stumps were drawn on the fourth day, West Indies reached 13 without loss with Chris Gayle not out on one and Daren Ganga not out on 10 looking to return on Tuesday to set a solid base for the home team to consider victory.


Ganga was part of the controversy that erupted over Dhoni's dismissal. He appeared to hold a spiralling catch on the deep mid wicket boundary off left-arm bowler Dave Mohammed, whom Dhoni had struck for successive sixes off the three previous balls.


Umpires Asad Rauf and Simon Taufel however, referred to TV replay umpire Billy Doctrove to legitimise the catch, since it appeared that Ganga had stepped on the boundary ropes.


The TV replays however, were inconclusive and the umpires ruled in the favour of Dhoni.


Incensed West Indies captain Brian Lara challenged the decision, and a further attempt was made to rule on the TV replays - and again it failed.


The umpires again ruled in favour of Dhoni, but a fuming Lara appealed to Dhoni to take the word of Ganga that he had not walked on the rope, but the batsman refused, and an animated Lara snatched the ball from the hand of Rauf and walked away.


By this time, almost 15 minutes had elapsed, and Indian skipper Rahul Dravid put both sides out of their misery by making the declaration.


Things had gone great guns for India, and Dhoni's late charge that yielded 69 from 52 balls, including four fours and half a dozen sixes in an hour extended India's lead.


The 28-year-old Jaffer hit 212 and added 203 for the third wicket with Dravid to establish a new record for India against West Indies in Tests.


Jaffer struck 20 fours and one six from 399 balls faced in a little more than eight hours at the crease.


Dave Mohammed was the most successful West Indies bowler with three wickets for 162 runs from 29.5 overs.


Jaffer stroking the ball with crisp assurance and Dravid played with typical aplomb to help fortify India's position in the match, but they were both dismissed in an action-packed last 40 minutes before the tea break.


Dravid was caught at deep backward square leg, when he top-edged a sweep at a delivery pitched outside off-stump from Mohammed that turned in and bounced.


Yuvraj Singh came to the wicket, with Jaffer one run away from his landmark, and saw the opener reach the milestone by turning a delivery from Mohammed through backward square leg for a single.


Jaffer's vigil came to an end when he lazily drove at a full length delivery and was bowled by Ian Bradshaw, who dropped to his knees in relief, and lay flat on his stomach to signify the hard work it took to remove the opener.


Resuming from their tea time total of 378 for four, India continued to mount the pressure on West Indies with purposeful batting.


Their batsmen punctuated spells of dogged resistance with strokes varying in degrees of power and placement.


Yuvraj and Kaif survived close shaves while Dhoni launched into Mohammed, hitting the spinner for two sixes over mid wicket in his 28th over.


In Mohammed's 30th over, Dhoni again took the spinner to the cleaners. He lofted the second and third balls over long-on, and swung the fourth over backward square leg before sparking controversy.


India, rated at three on the International Cricket Council's Test Rankings, are seeking their first series victory in the Caribbean for 35 years.


The four-Test series between the two sides also features matches at Gros Islet (June 10-14), Basseterre (June 22-26), and Kingston (June 30-July 4).

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)