India won the three Test series 2-0 against West Indies but the victory was far from perfect, far from convincing and far from what was expected of the team which was World Champions not long ago. West Indies had innumerable chances throughout the series and failed to capitalize even one of them and the only thing which the Indians did right was to make good use of the West Indian floundering and save themselves from further embarrassment.
Before the series started, everyone thought that India will win outright with the kind of squad they had plus having the home advantage and the only hitch they had was the absence of the great spinning duo of Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble. Though the Indian batsman and bowlers shone in patches, it was far from being a collective and credible effort. In all three games, the West Indies had many chances to pull the match in their favour and faltered repeatedly.
In the first Test at Delhi, West Indies had a really good chance after they bowled India out for 209 and just had to apply themselves to set a good target, instead none of the batsman showed any application and they folded for just 180 runs. They still had an opportunity with the ball when India was 95-2 and instead they played with a defensive mindset and the Indian batsmen weren’t foolish enough to slip up for the second time in the same match and hence the Windies lost purely due to the fixed mindset.
In the Eden Gardens, the Indian batting order proved too good for the inexperienced West Indian bowlers as the Indians piled on 631 runs. The West Indians seemed to have lost all hope before they stepped into bat as they fell like nine pins and earning themselves a follow-on. In the second innings, they seemed more desperate and inspired as they put up a good fight to score 463 runs but it was too little too late as India had virtually bowled them out of the game in the first innings itself. A good opening partnership is what all successful teams need and the West Indians did not manage even one so far in the series.
The third Test was the best opportunity they had to salvage some pride after the series was decided after India’s win in the first two. The West Indian side has all the talent they need but lacks the willpower and the confidence to play to their potential. The Mumbai Test saw only the second same score draw to have been achieved and could have been so easily, a West Indian victory. Their batsmen finally put up a collective show as they scored 590 runs in the first innings and had India on the mat at 287-4.
They let the opportunity to close the innings and make India follow-on with a poor strategy and defensive field setting. They were also too worried in making sure Sachin did not get his hundredth century rather than looking at the bigger picture as they let off-spinner R Ashwin bring up his maiden century. With a lead of 108 runs after India’s first innings, they had a good chance to score quick runs and believe in their bowlers to bowl the Indians on the final day.
But instead their batsmen once again fell like a pack of cards as they tried too much. The Windies still had a chance of victory as the Indians gifted their wickets in an attempt to go for the third win. The Indians were 224 for 7 with only tail-enders left and the bowlers failed to close the match out as Ashwin almost pulled off a victory for India in the last over.
With a poor approach of trying to play for bad light and delaying tactics instead of using the time to push for a victory or go down fighting, the West Indies literally presented the match to India as they were bent on playing defensive and cynical cricket like they were destined to lose!