India clinched a fifth consecutive series triumph in the West Indies on Monday when the second and final Test of their series ended as a draw with no play possible because of rain on the final day.
West Indies closed the fourth day at 76/2 having been set a daunting target of 365 to square the series at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad.
However, early showers put paid to any prospect of play in the morning and when they returned with greater intensity in the afternoon, the umpires were left with no option but to abandon the day’s play, thus ending the Test match and the series.
Mohammed Siraj, with best-ever figures of 5/60 in the West Indies first innings, opened the door to victory for India on the fourth morning, was named “Player of the Match”.
“There was no help for fast bowlers on this wicket and when you get success like this in these conditions it gives you confidence,” said Siraj on receiving the award.
“I had simple plans and just executed them. The captain just asked me to keep on doing what I have been doing before.”
For India captain Rohit Sharma, the disappointment of not being able to push for victory on the last day to earn a 2-0 sweep was tempered by the satisfaction of seeing this team succeed without key performers in the bowling department.
“It was really pleasing to see how Siraj has led the attack in the absence of (Jasprit) Bumrah and (Mohammed) Shami,” he observed.
“We have been playing really good Test cricket and I hope we can continue to do that. It’s great to see how everyone has been ready to play their role, like yesterday when we needed quick runs.”
‘A lot of belief’
For Kraigg Brathwaite, the captain of a West Indies team that last defeated India in a Test match in May 2002, it was yet another case of fishing for positives in a sea of setbacks.
“The key from here is obviously to be consistent,” said the opening batter in what has become a familiar refrain after every failed campaign.
“We will continue to work on our game, but it is encouraging to see the emergence of Alick (Athanaze) and Kirk (McKenzie) in the middle-order. I think these two guys have the promise and they are the future. I have a lot of belief in these two.”
India won the first Test in Dominica by an innings and 141 runs – a record margin of success for them in the Caribbean – in three days.
Both teams now adjust their squads for the white ball leg of the tour with the first of three One-Day Internationals to be played at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Thursday, followed by five T20 Internationals, the last two of which will be played at Lauderhill in Florida, the United States.