India produced a splendid performance to clinically decimate West Indies by 237 runs in the third cricket Test thereby taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series.
Having lost an entire day, it was a superb effort by the bowling unit that saw them bundle out West Indies for 108 in 47.3 overs while chasing a stiff victory target of 346 in 87 overs.
Incidentally, this is the first time in over six decades that India has won more than one Test match in the Caribbean islands. The previous three series victories — 1971, 2006 and 2011 has been by an identical 1-0 margin.
If Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the hero in the first innigs, Mohammed Shami (3/15 in 11 overs) and Ishant Sharma (2/30 in 7 overs) did the maximum damage in the second innings. Bhuvneshwar (1/13), Ravichandran Ashwin (1/28) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/20) also complemented the two pacers as none of the batsmen save Darren Bravo (59) showed any stomach for fight.
The historic moment came when Shanon Gabriel (11)’s slog was easily pouched by Bhuvneshwar at deep mid-wicket off Jadeja’s bowling. Skipper Virat Kohli was visibly ecstatic but there wasn’t any over-the-top celebrations.
Earlier, India batted for seven overs in the morning declaring their second innings at 217 for seven with Ajinkya Rahane remaining unbeaten on 78 off 116 balls.
India bowled 20 overs before lunch in which they reduced West Indies to 53 for 3. In the post lunch session, the home team lost 7 more wickets for 55 runs.
Bravo and Roston Chase (10) looked to bat for time and resurrect the innings from a precarious 53/3 in the post lunch session.
They faced a testing spell from Ishant and Bhuvneshwar who were using the 20-over-old ball well enough. The former was pitching the ball up a lot more than he has done in this series and found instant result, as one swung in sharply in the 26th over, and knocked back Chase’s stumps, bowling him through the gate.
When spinners came into the attack, Jermaine Blackwood (1) was stumped off Jadeja as keeper Wriddhiman Saha did some excellent work.
Shane Dowrich (5) then played out 8 overs with Bravo, though only adding 16 runs for the 6th wicket. It allowed Bravo enough breathing space to complete his 15th Test fifty off 73 balls, but it was never going to be enough.
Shami then came back to bowl another brilliant spell to go with his pre-lunch one, and had the keeper-batsman caught at second slip.
Ashwin completed the all-round display from the bowlers, as first, he ran out Jason Holder (1) who was in a terrible mix-up with Bravo going for a non-existent run, and then Alzarri Joseph was caught in the 43rd over.
In between Shami bounced out Bravo yet again, the ball lobbing to Rohit Sharma at short leg, the fielder having spent the entire day chatting with the left-hander.
In the morning, the visitors had declared their second innings at 217/7d (48 overs) as the hosts struggled in front of a 346-run target with 87 overs to bat. Kumar and Shami had started off proceedings, and the duo was right on the money with the new ball. While the former tied down the batsmen with some tight swing, the latter used pace to force them back.
It resulted in a double success in the space of four balls, as Shami had Leon Johnson (0) caught at forward short leg, with Rohit Sharma completing a good anticipatory catch in the 4th over. Four deliveries later, Kumar trapped Kraigg Brathwaite leg before even as the ball stayed low just a bit.
Marlon Samuels (12) then resisted for a short while and saw off the two bowlers, but he found Ishant Sharma (1-17) tough to handle as well. He played an uncharacteristic stroke to an incoming delivery and was bowled.
This was after India had declared their innings closed after 40 minutes of play in the morning session. Starting from the overnight 157/3, Rohit Sharma (41 1 four, 3 sixes) came out looking for quick runs but got a poor leg before decision from umpire Nigel Llong ended the former’s stay after only two balls.
There was a thick inside edge, which the umpire failed to detect, and it wasn’t his only howler as Wriddhiman Saha (14) was adjudged caught behind off a massive no-ball. Llong didn’t even bother to go upstairs to the third umpire and the keeper-batsman was given his marching orders.
Miguel Cummins (6/48) benefitted on both occasions, and then picked up his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket when Jadeja (16) was caught at deep cover going for a big shot. Ashwin (1) then became his 6th dismissal and the last batsman out for India, as skipper Virat Kohli decided that it was time to bowl.