Pace prolongs W Indies' record

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W Indies 443 and 301-3 dec India 387 and 114

(W Indies win by 243 runs)

The record that was built on pace was maintained here yesterday, with a raw, menacing and uncompromising attack. In the best traditions of West Indian fast bowling, Courtney Walsh and Kenny Benjamin reduced a previously powerful Indian batting order to powerless infirmity and swept their team to a crushing victory by 243 runs in the third and final Test.

While Benjamin, 5 for 65, and Walsh, 3 for 34, skittled India for 114, as many as eight close fielders clustered around timid batsmen, catches flew from tentative edges, forearm guards and helmets were struck and a stump cracked in two.

There was also the unmistakeable evidence that it is fierce pride that has kept the West Indies unbeaten in a Test series since 1980, a sequence now extended to 28 rubbers that include two one-off matches against South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Walsh the 31-year-old veteran in his 68th Test, was leading the West Indies for the first time on tour in the absence of Richie Richardson, taking a medically advised rest. He had been through it all before, claiming the crucial wickets to send South Africa tumbling to defeat when they were on the verge of winning and delivering the decisive ball on a chilly, misty morning in north India, for they had removed both openers the night before.

Navjot Sidhu was clearly lbw, Manoj Prabhakar took a blow on the face in Walsh's first over that put him in hospital with a fractured nose and out of the match, an occurrence not uncommon against West Indian attacks through the years.

Within an hour, and from 10.5 overs, Benjamin, the muscular, ungainly and extrovert Antiguan rejected by Worcestershire after one season in 1992, and Walsh, his tall, slim, phlegmatic captain, had exposed traditional Indian frailty against hostile fast bowling and reduced them to 68 for 8. Only the last pair, Javagal Srinath and Venkatapathy Raju, avoided the ignominy of India's lowest-ever total against the West Indies, 75. But their partnership of 46 was not even enough to send the match into the lunch interval as India were beaten in a Test on home soil for the first time since 1988.

The decisive wickets fell inside the first 20 minutes and within three balls of each other.

Sachin Tendulkar, whose previous exploits in the series have raised him ahead of Brian Lara at the pinnacle of the Deloittes batting ratings, drove the fourth ball he faced from Benjamin carelessly to cover and, at the opposite end, Sanjay Manjrekar edged Walsh's outswinger.

The unsettled left-hander, Vinod Kambli, lasted four balls and, after the captain, Mohammad Azharuddin, and the wicketkeeper, Niyan Mongia, interrupted the collapse for 20 minutes, four wickets fell in a cluster for two runs against the rampant West Indians.

Mongia and Anil Kumble edged catches off Walsh and Azharuddin hooked to fine leg off Benjamin, who then snapped Anil Kumble's leg stump in half. Even after an hour he was bowling that fast and soon hit the courageous last man, Raju, so squarely on the helmet the ball rebounded 20 yards behind the wicket and he needed attention for a small cut on the head. He soldiered on and he and Srinath batted 50 minutes, having at least the satisfaction of forcing Benjamin out of the attack.

Cameron Cuffy immediately produced the ball to complete victory by a team minus not only the appointed captain, Richardson, but its leading fast bowler, Curtly Ambrose.

(Fifth day; West Indies won toss)

W INDIES - First Innings 443 (J C Adams 174no, AC Cumins 50; A Kumble 4-90, SLV Raju 3-73).

INDIA - First innings 387 (M Prabhakar 120).

W INDIES - Second innings 301-3 dec (BC Lara 91).

INDIA - Second Innings M Prabhakar retd hurt 0

N S Sidhu lbw b Benjamin 11

S V.Manjrekar c Murray b Walsh 17

S R Tendulkar c Arthurton b Benjamin 10

*M A Azharuddin c Cummins b Benjamin 5

V G Kambli c sub (Campbell) b Benjamin 0

N R Mongia c Williams b Walsh 4

A R Kapoor c Murray b Walsh 1

A Kumble b Benjamin 1

J Srinath not out 17

Venkatapathy Raju c Murray b Cuffy 16

Extras (b1 lb13 nb8) 22

Total 114

Bowling: Walsh 18-7-34-3, Benjamin 17-3-65-5, Cuffy 0.4-0-1-1.

Fall: 1-17 2-44 3-46 4-48 5-66 6-66 7-68 8-68 9-114.

Bowling: Walsh 18-7-34-3; Benjamin 17-3-65-5; Cuffy 0.4-0-1-1.

England injury worries, page 38