Bridgetown (Barbados): Half centuries by Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman enabled India to reach 229 for three at stumps on the fourth day of the second Test match against the West Indies at Kensington Oval, thereby stretching their lead to 240 runs. Teams: West Indies: Darren Sammy (capt), Adrian Barath, Carlton Baugh (wk), Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Lendl Simmons, Kirk Edwards. (JPN/Agencies)
Indian batsmen couldn't score runs at a brisk pace as they managed only 206 runs in 83.2 overs.
Laxman (72 batting, 171 balls, 6x4) and Virat Kohli (26, 98 balls, 1x4, 1x6) were at the crease when stumps were drawn having added 73 runs for the unbroken fourth wicket stand.
For West Indies Fidel Edwards was the most successful bowler having taken two for 58.
Vijay now has scores of 8,0, 11 and 3 from the series and would be very lucky if he manages to retain his berth in the final Test in Dominica (July 6-10). In fact it seems that he has blown away the chance to make it to the squad for England.
India didn't find the going particularly good thereafter though Mukund grew in assurance with every passing minute in the middle.
Most of the concerns, strangely, revolved around Dravid who unusually struggled on a bouncy pitch and lived dangerously.
He was also at the centre of an umpiring controversy when he flicked Darren Sammy to midwicket region and fielder Adrian Barath made a tumbling scoop to claim a catch.
Several replays and after a five-minute hold up, the claim was rejected and Dravid, then on 10, could continue his innings. It was the 17th over of the innings, the 12th of the morning session with the visitors' score reading 47 for 1.
Even after the two umpires, Ian Gould and Asad Rauf, had resumed their positions, and the fielders and bowlers were back in their place, the third umpire Gregory Brathwaite kept lingering over the decision before ruling it in batsman's favour.
Mukund and Dravid then held steadfast to guide India to 62 for 1 from the session which duly lost an hour due to rain as has been the norm in this Test.
The elegance of young Mukund was much in evidence as he always got behind the line of the delivery and played a few pleasing strokes down the ground. But for one occasion when a Fidel Edwards bouncer hit him on the helmet, the left-hander was usually in control. Mukund's one stroke, a glorious cover drive off Darren Sammy, stood out from the morning session's play.
The southpaw fell after lunch, just two runs shy of his maiden half century, when he rose on his heels to an Edwards’s bouncer which still took his gloves on way to the Wicketkeeper.
Mukund batted for 153 minutes and hit six fours from the 81 balls he faced. He was a picture of dejection as he walked back to pavilion.
Dravid now had his long-stand partner Laxman at the other end who withstood all that West Indies could muster from its four-pronged attack. Both took India to tea without any further loss at 143 for 2.
Dravid fell in an uncharacteristic manner post-tea when he slashed at a rising delivery from Edwards and was puched by Ramnaresh Sarwan at first slip.
The veteran batsmen batted for 221 minutes, faced 171 balls and hit three fours, two of which were steers past the slip cordon.
Dravid's departure brought the sparse crowd on its feet as they anticipated Edwards to make short work of Virat Kohli once again.
The fielders began crouching around the bat and Kohli once nearly played into the hands of forward short leg as well but West Indies didn't get the breakthrough they were looking.
Kohli held firm even as runs were not coming and opened his score in pulled six off Edwards—even though it took 22 balls in coming.
Laxman batted without a worry at the other end, going past Sir Garfield Sobers' run aggregate of 8032 runs on the home ground of the most talented all-round cricketer the world has ever seen.
Brief Scores: India 201 & 229/3 (VVS Laxman 72 batting, Rahul Dravid 55, Abhinav Mukund 48, Fidel Edwards 2/58). West Indies 190
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Harbhajan Singh, Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Abhinav Mukund, Munaf Patel, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma, Murali Vijay
Umpires: Asad Rauf (Pakistan) and Ian Gould (England).
Bridgetown (Barbados): Half centuries by Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman enabled India to reach 229 for three at stumps on the fourth day of the second Test match against the West Indies at Kensington Oval, thereby stretching their lead to 240 runs.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (capt), Adrian Barath, Carlton Baugh (wk), Devendra Bishoo, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Lendl Simmons, Kirk Edwards.