Lara's arrival livens up inevitable draw

India 355; West Indies 145-3 Match drawn
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The Independent Online
Denied a meaningful contest by the weather that eliminated the second and third days and two-thirds of the fourth, the cricket-starved Guyanese public had belated, brief but exhilarating compensation from Brian Lara and a couple of his West Indian colleagues as the fifth and final Test came to an inconclusive end yesterday.

By the time the Indian first innings, that had started on Thursday, had dragged to its close at 355 just before tea, the crowd had trebled to over 6,000 in anticipation of a batting exhibition from their idols. They were not let down.

Stuart Williams set the tone with 44 off 46 balls, including a six and five fours and an opening stand of 72 with the local darling, the 22-year- old Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

It was the ideal platform for Lara, who arrived to a rapturous reception and, for half an hour, led the carnival with some exquisite strokes. He rattled up 30 off 16 balls with a straight six off the left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi and six fours, four off successive balls in one over from the leg-spinner Anil Kumble. Attempting to repeat his six off Joshi, he holed out to long-on.

The match was called off with eight overs still available, leaving Chanderpaul unbeaten on 58, made from 100 balls with eight fours. It raised the little left-hander's aggregate in the series to 443, the highest on either side, and his average to 73.83.

Earlier, Mohammed Azharuddin had passed one notable personal landmark while Curtly Ambrose remained stalled on the 295 Test wickets that he had at the end of the third Test. Like this one, the fourth in Antigua was ruined by rain. Azharuddin has had a disappointing series but when he reached 20, his highest score of the tour, he reached 5,000 runs in Tests, the fifth Indian to pass that milestone.

Final day; India won toss

INDIA - First Innings

(Overnight: 241 for 4)

M Azharuddin c Browne b Rose 31

N R Mongia c Hooper b Rose 39

A Kumble c Walsh b Hoope 15

S Joshi c Browne b Chanderpaul 7

D Ganesh c Browne b Hooper 7

A Kuruvilla c Bishop b Hooper 5

B K V Prasad not out 0

Extras (b8, lb8, w3, nb13) 32

Total 355

Fall of wickets: 5-280 6-303 7-322 8-343 9-354.

Bowling: Ambrose 29-14-36-0; Bishop 31-9-61-2; Rose 33.1-7-90-3; Walsh 28.2-9-62-1; Hooper 18-7-34-3, Chanderpaul 29-8-56-1.

WEST INDIES - First Innings

S C Williams lbw b Kumble 44

S Chanderpaul not out 58

B C Lara c Sidhu b Joshi 30

C L Hooper run out 1

C O Browne not out 0

Extras (b 7, lb2, w1, nb 2) 12

Total (for 3) 145

Did not bat: S L Campbell, R I C Holder, I R Bishop, C E L Ambrose, F A Rose, *C A Walsh.

Fall of wickets: 1-72, 2-127, 3-145.

Bowling: Prasad 7-0-37-0; Kuruvilla 7-1-34-0; Ganesh 7-2-24-0; Kumble 4-1-30-1; Joshi 5-1-11-1.

Umpires: G Sharp (Eng) and E Nicholls (WI).