Indian head coach Anil Kumble has blamed the rain as India could not close the game as West Indies drew the match. India lost out more than 100 overs in windies’ second innings. WI scored 388 for 6 in the second innings and got out of jail.
Mohammed Shami bowled with aggression and pace to trouble hosts. India were expected to run through windies on the fifth day but Jermaine Blackwood (63), Roston Chase (137*), Shane Dowrich (74) and Jason Holder (64*) stood in India’s way and fought hard to earn a well deserved draw. Chase also took five for in the first innings.
“Obviously, we wanted to win this Test match. Yesterday, we were in a very good position and credit to the West Indies batsmen, the way they batted,” said Kumble after the match ended in a draw.
“Yesterday, time was very crucial for us because we were in great momentum and the conditions were such that it could have been different if we had probably bowled more. There was loss of play, more than 100 overs were lost in this Test match. So all those factors mattered. In the end, credit to the West Indian batsmen in terms of how they batted and their application as well,” he added.
Kumble reserved special praise for Chase, who was playing his second Test match,”It is creditable for someone playing in his second Test match, to be able to bat through the day and save the game for his team. Chase’s approach today was very good. He looked to attack when needed to and blocked literally every ball. So he kept our bowlers at bay, which was obviously disappointing from the outside.
“I think all their batsmen, right from Jermaine Blackwood, Jason Holder and Shane Dowrich, all of them applied themselves. It’s something that we also have to sit down and analyze as to how we’re going to get the last five wickets because in this series they have certainly contributed,” he added.
India bundled out WI for 196 in the first innings and batted very well to score 500 for 9 dec and were in a commanding position. KL Rahul scored his third hundred and Ajinkya Rahane scored another hundred overseas. The tropical storm hitting Jamaica on third and fourth day hampered men in blue and they couldn’t complete the job.
“You can’t really look at the forecast and take decisions,” said the coach.
“If you looked at the forecast on day three, it was supposed to rain the whole day, and even on day four it was supposed to rain. So you can’t really look at the forecast and decide what you need to do. Yes, you strategize slightly differently.”
“Having said that, we wanted to bat once because we didn’t want to declare with just a lead of 160 runs and then bat again on the fifth day. I thought we played really good cricket and we were dominant right throughout. Today the change in momentum happened and credit to the West Indies’ batsmen.”
The Indian coach accepted that the position that they were in, Kohli and co. should have won the match.
“From the position, we were in, we should have probably wrapped up the Test match, but having said that this is certainly something that happens in a Test match. Sometimes the opposition puts up a brave challenge and that’s exactly what happened,” he added.
WI were reduced to 48 for 4 when the play started on day five and most pundits had favoured a comfortable Indian win. Roston Chase batted out of his skin and scored a magnificent 137 not out. Ashwin and company will be disappointed not to finish the game as they only needed six wickets to win.
“The plan was always to take wickets. Initially, since we had 300 runs on the board, we were attacking and they came hard at us as well, and they got away in the five or six overs. They got a lot of runs.
“And once that period happened, I believe the ball went a bit soft as well. So it was quite difficult to get the purchase that we were getting yesterday and the conditions were different as well.”
Kumble admitted that conditions were favourable for swing bowling on the fourth day because of cloud cover.
India will be disappointed as they dominated the first four days but lacked the killer instinct to earn victory. India could have declared early as rain was forecasted. Rain played a spoilsport and as they say you can only control the controllables. WI should be given credit to play hard and aggressive cricket and proved their doubters wrong.
“It was cloudy, there was some rain about and there was a lot more swing yesterday. So in that sense, we could have probably adapted better. Having said that though, the West Indies’ batsmen really applied themselves, so it was quite hard for our bowlers and this was certainly a learning spell. I’m sure on the next opportunity, whenever that is, the bowlers will be probably come up with a different approach, in terms of the challenge,” Kumble signed off.
The third Test will be played at Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium, St Lucia from August 9.