India was within striking distance of winning two Tests in a series in the Caribbean for the first time.
Under the circumstances, coach Duncan Fletcher faced a barrage of questions from the media after the decision of his side to agree for a draw with 86 more runs to get in 90 balls with seven wickets in hand.
Fletcher explained, “It was a pitch where stroke-making was not easy. The surface was slow and it was hard to play shots square off the wicket which was A big advantage for the bowlers.”
The Indian coach added, “We sent left-hander Suresh Raina since the leg-spinner (Devendra Bishoo) was bowling a negative line. But even he found it hard to score freely.”
Fletcher said, “It was the kind of pitch where a batsman had to settle down for three or four overs before he could start to score. Vijay batted for more than 20 overs and even he said it was not easy to score quickly on this pitch. Unless someone bowled very badly, it was very hard to score quick runs.”
The Indian coach said the team here, without a few big names, had exceeded expectations. “We were here without Tendulkar, Sehwag, Gambhir and Zaheer but have done extremely well to win the Twenty20 game, the ODI series and the Tests.”
Lot of pessimism
Fletcher added, “There was a lot of pessimism before India started the tour. As a team we have done the job. Had it not rained here and in Barbados, we could have won the series 3-0.”
The India coach did not find fault with Bishoo's round-the-wicket negative tactics to the right-handers. “He's allowed to do that. I have no problems with it,” he said.
Fletcher was all praise for the effort of the bowlers, Player of the Series Ishant Sharma in particular, for their role in the series win. Fletcher added, “It would have been better if all the batsmen had made runs but most of them were among the runs at some stage of the tour.”
He said the West Indies coach Ottis Gibson had done a good job with the team. “The West Indies showed a lot of improvement as the series progressed, in both batting and bowling.”
West Indies captain Darren Sammy said he was surprised by India's decision to agree for a draw. “They still had big hitters like Dhoni and I thought they would go for it.”
Sammy said his team might not be winning but had shown a lot of fight in Barbados and here. “We fought hard. We were a man down with the ball in the first innings with Rampaul being unwell. Chanderpaul batted very well. Kirk Edwards showed a lot of promise. And Fidel Edwards, apart from bowling with heart, also showed plenty of resistance with the bat in the second innings.”
The West Indian captain said had his team cashed in on the opportunities in the first Test in Jamaica, the score-line might have been different in the series.
Keywords: India's tour of West Indies