KOLKATA: India today clinched the three-match Test series against the West Indies after crushing the hapless visitors by an innings and 15 runs in the second match to take an unassailable 2-0 lead here today.
The West Indies put up a strong fightback in their second innings with Darren Bravo (136) slamming a superb century but that turned out to be not enough as Indian bowlers grabbed six wickets in the post-lunch session to wrap up the match on the fourth day at the Eden Gardens.
The match ended with more than four sessions to spare, just like in the first Test in New Delhi where India beat the visitors by five wickets.
The two sides now travel to Mumbai for the third Test which begins on November 22.
In contrast to their first innings collapse, West Indies, after being asked to follow on, put up a valiant fight before being bundled out for 463 in 126.3 overs eight minutes before the scheduled tea break.
At one stage, the West Indies were staring at their biggest ever loss against India (an innings and 112 runs, Mumbai 2002) but Bravo weaved two century partnerships — with Chanderpaul (108 runs) and Marlon Samuels (132) — to save his side from the dubious record.
Resuming at his overnight score of 38, Bravo put up a superb batting display to notch up his second Test century in less than a month with both coming in second innings. He hit 16 boundaries and four sixes in his innings from 230 balls.
For India, pacer Umesh Yadav was the most successful bowler with three wickets today to return with innings figure of four for 80, while the spin duo of Pragyan Ojha (2/104) and R Ashwin (2/137) claimed the remaining wickets. Pacer Ishant Sharma (2/95) had claimed two wickets yesterday.
Veteran batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, playing with a stiff calf muscle, gave Bravo good company with 47 (94 balls, 6×4).
After Chanderpaul’s dismissal, Bravo stitched another substantial partnership with Marlon Samuels who slammed 84 from 111 balls laced with 13 boundaries and one six.
Skipper Darren Sammy then hit a quick-fire 32 from 28 balls, studded with one boundary and three sixes, but Yadav claimed two wickets in two balls to bundle out the visitors for 463.
It was for the first time that the West Indies scored more than 400 when following on, bettering the 1968 record of 391/9 declared against England in Kingston.
After lunch, India persisted with Ishant Sharma and Pragyan Ojha in tandem with the left-arm spinner bowling from the High Court end.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni then brought in off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin from High Court end, a move that yielded 12 runs with Samuels hitting a six over midwicket after Bravo’s elegant boundary in the deep point region.
But the crucial breakthrough for India came in the next over when Ojha was brought on from the pavilion end, a switch of end that finally did the trick for India in the form of Bravo’s key wicket.
Bravo edged a straight delivery at slip with Rahul Dravid taking the catch easily for a breakthrough and that opened the floodgates for India.
Maintaining his tidy line and length, Ojha tempted Bravo for an expansive push that got the edge and the wicket.
New batsman Carlton Baugh edged another delivery from Ojha at slip and 38-year-old Dravid, with most catches in Tests, did not make any mistake taking a brilliant low catch diving to his right.
India struck in successive overs to reduce West Indies to 417 for seven with Ashwin claiming the scalp of aggressive looking Samuels.India grabbed just one wicket in the first session which was extended by one and a half hours with Yadav removing Chanderpaul as the visitors scored 144 runs from 36 overs. But the home side hit back in second session by taking the remaining six wickets in 28.3 overs to wrap up the match.
It was a tough grind for Indian bowlers in the first session with Bravo and Chanderpaul playing sensible cricket with Ojha and Ashwin opening the bowling in the hope to exploit the early morning dew.
The two left-handed batsmen were at ease against young Indian spinners as they chose to score in occasional boundaries after resuming the day at team total of 195 for three.
Barring one mix up between the two batsmen, there was hardly anything for the Indians in the morning.
There was a confusion between the duo when Bravo came rushing at the non-striking end after playing one to the mid-on even as Chanderpual was unmoved.
But India made a mess of the chance as Gambhir’s throw to Dhoni was wayward and the Indian skipper had to come four-five paces to collect the ball, which gave Bravo amply time to reach home safely.
Having survived the run-out chance on 54, Bravo grew in confidence as he took charge against the Indian spin duo.
Bravo hit Ashwin for a six over his head and followed it up with a boundary of Ojha in the next over.
With the tourists looking good on 249 for three, India took the new ball in the 81st over, which resulted in the breakthrough.
Just in the fourth over after taking the new ball, India managed to break the dangerous-looking fourth-wicket partnership when Chanderpaul played on a Yadav delivery.
The wicket, however, did very little to disturb Bravo’s concentration as he notched up his second Test century with a boundary of Yadav.(PTI)