Tendulkar era ends with 2-0 sweep

CricketFilePhotoE(Sports) The curtain came down on Sachin Tendulkar’s storied Test career with one of India’s most comprehensive victories, as a hapless West Indies crumbled on the third morning in Mumbai. Tendulkar walked off the field with a tear in his eye and to a fluid guard of honour from his team-mates, soaking in the cheers of the Wankhede crowd one last time.

Pragyan Ojha took his second five-for of the match, and Ashwin finished with seven in the match, but the only spin bowling Indian fans wanted to see was the all-sorts of Tendulkar. Ten minutes before the scheduled close of the first session, by when West Indies had lost eight wickets in another inept batting performance, Tendulkar was brought into the attack. Though the crowd was desperate for a wicket, Tendulkar’s final two overs produced no breakthrough. MS Dhoni brought back his main bowlers and within a handful of overs, the Test was brought to an end with Mohammed Shami flattening the middle stump of the West Indies No. 11 Shannon Gabriel.

West Indies’ batsmen hadn’t shown much aptitude for a fight earlier in the day either, as the spinners enjoyed the bounce and turn on offer. In the sixth over of the morning, Marlon Samuels charged out to Ojha, was nowhere near the pitch of the ball, and was yards out of the crease when Dhoni took the bails off. Soon after, another player who has had a rough series, Chris Gayle, was caught-behind for 35 off Ojha and West Indies were five down. With those two big wickets, the question was whether West Indies would last the session.

The man brought in to strengthen the batting in this Test, Narsingh Deonarine, fell for a duck, bringing in another player whose critics will only get louder after this game. Darren Sammy had played an atrocious shot in the first innings to bag a duck and he nearly fell first ball this time, a leading edge just landing short of mid-off. The relief for Sammy didn’t last long, though, as after an over in which he was tormented by Ojha, he missed an arm ball to be trapped lbw.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the only West Indies batsman to have shown the wherewithal to grit it out consistently this series, resisted with 41, and Denesh Ramdin went on to a half-century but given the mammoth lead India had, it was only a matter of time. Chanderpaul was the man to depart, with Ashwin getting him lbw and running off in celebration.

West Indies may have come into the series on the back of six victories, but the pitiful challenge they put up shows that they have regressed in the last two years. In those two years, the Indian team has undergone a major overhaul, and while the verdict on their performance will have to wait till they are tested overseas, they have done enough to send off Tendulkar with a record six Test wins.

Summarized scores: India 495 (Pujara 113, Rohit 111*, Tendulkar 74, Shillingford 5-179) beat West Indies 182 (Ojha 5-40) and 187 (Ramdin 53*, Ojha 5-49, Ashwin 4-89) by an innings and 126 runs

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