PORT OF SPAIN: India clinched a fifth consecutive series triumph in the West Indies on Monday when the second and final Test of their series ended as a draw with no play possible because of rain on the final day. West Indies closed day four at 76 for two having been set a daunting victory target of 365 to square the series at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad. However early showers put paid to any prospect of play in the morning and when they returned with greater intensity in the afternoon, the umpires were left with no option but to abandon the day’s play and the end of the Test match and the series.
Mohammed Siraj, whose Test-best figures of five for 60 in the West Indies first innings opened the door to victory for India on the fourth morning, was named “Player of the Match”. “There was no help for fast bowlers on this wicket and when you get success like this in these conditions it gives you confidence,” said Siraj via an interpreter on receiving the award. “I had simple plans and just executed them. The captain just asked me to keep on doing what I have been doing before.” For his skipper, Rohit Sharma, the disappointment of not being able to push for victory on the last day to earn a 2-0 sweep was tempered by the satisfaction of seeing this team succeed without key performers in the bowling department.
“It was really pleasing to see how Siraj has led the attack in the absence of (Jasprit) Bumrah and (Mohammed) Shami,” he observed. “We have been playing really good Test cricket and I hope we can continue to do that. It’s great to see how everyone has been ready to play their role, like yesterday when we needed quick runs.” ‘A lot of belief’ For Kraigg Brathwaite, the captain of a West Indies team that last defeated India in a Test match in May 2002, it was yet another case of fishing for positives in a sea of setbacks.
“The key from here is obviously to be consistent,” said the opening batsman in what has become a familiar refrain after every failed campaign. “We will continue to work on our game, but it is encouraging to see the emergence of Alick (Athanaze) and Kirk (McKenzie) in the middle-order. I think these two guys have the promise and they are the future. I have a lot of belief in these two.” India won the first Test in Dominica by an innings and 141 runs – a record margin of success for them in the Caribbean – in three days.
While India would have been satisfied in some measure with the 1-0 series success, adding to previous triumphs in 2006, 2011, 2016 and 2019, they would have been disappointed to miss out on the chance to earn maximum points at the start of the new cycle of the World Test Championship. Both teams now adjust their squads for the white ball leg of the tour with the first of three One-Day Internationals to be played at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Thursday, followed by five T20 Internationals, the last two of which will be played at Lauderhill in Florida, the United States. – AFP