India had to be content with a 1-0 series win over the West Indies as Day V of the second and final Test in Port of Spain was a washout.
With no play possible in the first two sessions on Monday due to rain and wet outfield, play was called off around 2.50 pm local time.
In the current World Test Championship cycle, India are now on 16 points from two games, with percentage points (100) placing them on top of the table.
In spite of the inclement weather, India ensured they forced the issue in their second innings as they raced to 181/2 in just 24 overs before announcing a declaration late on Day IV. After a brisk start by captain Rohit Sharma and his opening partner Yashasvi Jaiswal, keeper-batter Ishan Kishan (52 not out off 34 balls), promoted up the order at No.4, switched to his white-ball mode against a pedestrian Windies bowling attack and registered his maiden Test half-century that propelled India’s lead.
West Indies’ Tagenarine Chanderpaul and Jermaine Blackwood run between the wickets on Day IV. AP/PTI
Set a stiff target of 365, the Windies, with a defensive mindset, were precariously placed at 76/2 at stumps on the fourth day after losing captain Kraigg Brathwaite and debutant Kirk Mckenzie to Ravichandran Ashwin.
However, the man who actually brightened India’s scope of winning this Test despite all the rain in Port of Spain is pacer Mohammed Siraj, whose five-wicket haul in the Windies’ first innings was crucial in terms of forcing a result. The task wasn’t easy for Siraj given the flatness of the Queen’s Park Oval pitch.
“I would rate my performance very high because it’s not easy to take five wickets on a flat wicket,” Siraj said after Sunday’s play.
“I had set a plan, especially when the ball started reverse-swinging, and I executed my line and length perfectly.”
Hot and humid conditions with frequent rain interruptions made the job tougher for Siraj. “When you bowl long spells in this heat and humidity, it is not easy.
“Then there were intermittent rains and to warm up again and again after every rain break, it was very challenging,” the pacer agreed.
Elaborating on his plan, Siraj stated: “It was simple. Since the ball wasn’t doing much, I bowled stump-to-stump and also tried to use the seam.”
With Jasprit Bumrah recovering from a back injury and Mohammed Shami rested for this series, Siraj had to lead India’s pace attack and he carried out his responsibility successfully. Leading India’s pace attack isn’t completely new to Siraj though as he had accomplished a similar task back in January 2021 in that Brisbane Test against Australia when India’s senior quicks were all indisposed.
“I feel very nice when I get a responsibility, especially when no senior (bowler) is there. I like accepting challenges,” Siraj emphasised.