Sehwag ends Bravo's cameo

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The Independent Online

Those of India and West Indies have found it far less accommodating than is customary in its farewell Test, the first of the current series of four.

The ARG, as it is known locally, will be replaced for next year's World Cup by the spanking new Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, now under construction five miles away, and based on its record and with the advantage of the toss, India would have expected far better than their limp total of 241 here that ended 20 minutes into the second morning yesterday.

Repeatedly through their reply, West Indies built strong positions only to lose wickets at critical times, ending on 318 for 6 with a useful lead of 77, yet also with the prospect of batting last on a slow but wearing pitch.

The left-handed opener Chris Gayle attacked with his usual gusto for 72 off 91 balls with a six and 13 fours, sharing a second-wicket partnership of 119 with Ramnaresh Sarwan that took advantage of India's inexperienced pace attack of two bowlers playing in their third Test and another on debut.

When Gayle was taken at slip off the evergreen leg-spinner Anil Kumble and Brian Lara sliced to point off the tall fast bowler Munaf Patel 22 runs later, the match was keenly balanced.

For a time, Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul steadied things but Kumble struck again with the first ball after tea, claiming Sarwan lbw for 58 with a straight ball. It brought in Dwayne Bravo, the 22-year-old all-rounder whose four wickets undermined India on the opening day, and he swung the advantage back to the home team with brilliant strokes in all directions.

He dominated a fifth-wicket stand of 73 with Chanderpaul, outscoring his left-handed partners 51 to 18, but the pendulum swung again as occasional off-spinner Virender Sehwag snared both with the help of wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Chanderpaul's edged cut was neatly taken and Bravo, whose 68 off 92 balls included 11 fours, was swiftly stumped as he missed a drive coming down the track.

At 282 for 6 and only wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin and the bowlers left, India had a chance of containing West Indies to a manageable lead but Ramdin and left-hander Ian Bradshaw batted through to the close, by which time they had added 36.