The West Indies amassed a first-innings total of 581 on the third day of the third Test yesterday but a session of bewildering tactics before lunch betrayed the lack of direction that continues to hinder their cricket.
An inexplicable slow-down an hour before lunch during the sixth-wicket partnership between Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels, eventually worth 156, cost them valuable time in a match already reduced by 31 overs due to rain on the first two days.
When India batted, needing 383 to avoid the follow-on, Corey Collymore dismissed Virender Sewag for 31 with his sixth ball to Brian Lara's slip catch but Wasim Jaffer and VVS Laxman then put a hard, true pitch in perspective.
Chanderpaul and Samuels were moving along comfortably in the first session when, for no explicable reason, they pulled up the handbrake. After adding 102 to the overnight 420 for 5 off the first 22 overs, on purpose, but to no purpose they eked out 20 runs from the last 14 overs before the interval.
India predictably set defensive fields and the off-spinner Harbhajan Singh bowled consistently wide of off-stump as the game became a stalemate and the batsmen allowed the strong West Indies position to weaken. Presumably reminded of the state of the game and their responsibility by the captain, Brian Lara, and the coach, Bennett King, Chanderpaul and Samuels resumed by taking 19 off Harbhajan's first over after lunch.
But the sudden need to accelerate led to a swift collapse, with four wickets falling to Harbhajan, andChanderpaul left stranded on 97. The stylish Samuels, who stroked three sixes and eight fours in his 87, perished to a catch at deep mid-wicket off Virender Sewag. Chanderpaul left the ground visibly disappointed, but he was paying for the go-slow.
West Indies won toss
West Indies - First Innings (0vernight 421-5)
S Chanderpaul not out 75
M N Samuels not out 71
Extras (lb13 w1 nb11) 25
Total (for 5, 162 overs) 536
To bat: D Ramdin, P T Collins, J E Taylor, C D Collymore.
Bowling: M M Patel 32-5-134-3, Sreesanth 31-8-99-1, Kumble 47-8-141-0, Harbhajan Singh 40-6-117-1, Sehwag 12-2-32-0
Umpires: B G Jerling (SA) and R E Koertzen (SA).Reuse content