Gayle and Chanderpaul steering Windies to safety
by AFP

Ground:Antigua Recreation Ground, St John's
Scorecard:West Indies v India
Player:CH Gayle, S Chanderpaul, A Kumble, V Sehwag, S Sreesanth, D Mohammed
Event:India in West Indies 2006

DateLine: 7th June 2006


Chris Gayle completed a half-century and Shivnarine Chanderpaul was eyeing one of his own to throw West Indies a lifeline on the fifth and final day in the opening Test against India on Tuesday at the Antigua Recreation Ground.


At the tea break, West Indies, chasing a highly improbable, if not impossible victory target of 392, were 158 for three, with Gayle unbeaten on 59 and Chanderpaul not out on 47.


The two left-handers batted through the entire period to heighten the prospects of a draw, after West Indies continued from their lunchtime total of 72 for three.


Gayle reached his 50 when he drove Virender Sehwag through wide mid-off for his eighth boundary. He also hit two sixes from 175 balls in a little under four-and-a-half hours of batting.


Chanderpaul joined him at the wicket after lunch and survived a chance early when Wasim Jaffer failed to hold a low edge at third slip off Munaf Patel.


Without being careless, Chanderpaul decided to counterattack and played a wide array of strokes to collect nine boundaries from 83 balls, and helped to invigorate the sedate Gayle.


Before lunch, three wickets, two to Shantha Sreesanth, in the last half hour looked to have enhanced India's charge to victory.


Sreesanth claimed the prized scalp of Brian Lara in the final over before the interval when he had the West Indies captain adjudged lbw for a seven-ball duck.


The batting superstar, shuffling across the line of a well-pitched delivery, tried to work it into the off-side and was struck plumb in front.


In his previous over, Sreesanth claimed Ramnaresh Sarwan, caught at gully for one, when the West Indies vice-captain flirted with danger out at the off-stump and sliced a shoulder high catch to a fielder.


The two wickets had changed the complexion of the match after Gayle and fellow opener Daren Ganga had spent the majority of the morning period establishing a solid platform of 67 for the first wicket.


Gayle curbed his natural instincts but he was fortunate that umpire Simon Taufel did not agree with Anil Kumble's appeal for a catch to the wicketkeeper in his final over before the interval.


Gayle swept at the champion leg-spin bowler and television replays revealed that the ball lobbed into the wicketkeeper's gloves off the back of the West Indies opener's bat.


Ganga however, had not been so fortunate. He had batted for two hours for his 36, when he turned a delivery from Kumble straight into the lap of forward short leg fielder Yuvraj Singh.


Sreesanth has been India's most successful bowler with two wickets for 42 runs from 15 overs.


India, rated at three on the latest International Cricket Council 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)