His unbeaten 102 was the 14th time he had passed 50 in his relatively brief career. Without him his team would have been in far more strife than the 240 for 7 they finished with.
After two dreary draws in Jamaica and Trinidad, the Kensington Oval pitch provided the life that was demanded by both captains - even Sachin Tendulkar in spite of the reality that India were not nearly as well served to exploit such conditions.
When he won the toss, Tendulkar's sigh of relief was audible. He knew the dangers that would have followed with the West Indies' quartet of giant fast bowlers.
As it was his own, tall fast men, Venkatesh Prasad, Abey Kuruvilla and Dodda Ganesh, served him well. Prasad was the pick with three of his four wickets coming from catches off the outside edge, including the prize of Brian Lara, leading the West Indies for the first time in the absence of the injured Courtney Walsh.
(First day; India won toss).
WEST INDIES - First Innings
S Campbell c Azharuddin b Prasad 6
S Williams c Laxman b Ganesh 24
S Chanderpaul not out 102
*B Lara c Tendulkar b Prasad 19
C Hooper c Mongia b Ganesh 19
R Holder c Azharuddin b Prasad 5
C Browne c Tendulkar b Kumble 24
I Bishop b Prasad 4
C Ambrose not out 28
Extras (lb2, nb7) 9
Total (for 7) 240
To bat: F Rose, M Dillon.
Fall: 1-10, 2-40, 3-88, 4-118, 5-131, 6-187, 7-193.
Bowling (to date): Prasad 25-8-58-4; Kuruvilla 23.4-4-64-0; Ganesh 21- 2-70-2; Kumble 14-1-37-1; Ganguly 2-1-9-0.
INDIA: *Sachin Tendulkar, Venkata Laxman, Navjot Sidhu, Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, Mohammad Azharuddin, Nayan Mongia, Anil Kumble, Abey Kuruvilla, Venkatesh Prasad, Dodda Ganesh.
Umpires: Lloyd Barker and Steve Randell.Reuse content