Dominica: A spirited West Indian counterattack wasn't enough to prevent India from retaining control of the third Test, but rain continued to threaten the possibility of any outright result, wiping out almost the entire final session. In the 50.2 overs that were bowled, Carlton Baugh and Darren Bravo rescued the hosts from 99 for 5 but India hit back in the latter part of the second session. Ishant Sharma removed Bravo and cleaned up the tail to pick up another five-wicket haul, while Harbhajan Singh dislodged Darren Sammy and Baugh to become only the 11th bowler - and the third Indian - to take 400 Test wickets.
Baugh batted with typical Caribbean flair after the West Indies innings appeared to stagnate against the determined Indian seamers in good batting conditions. His busy approach was key to propping up West Indies, who lost Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels in fairly quick time in the morning. Baugh's presence was infectious, as a tied-down Bravo too opened up after a quiet start to the day. The introduction of spin a few overs before lunch was Baugh's opportunity to step up, and he announced himself with a slog-swept six off Harbhajan. The pair then dispatched part-timer Suresh Raina's long-hops for boundaries, and sustained the pace after lunch against the seamers.
Ishant was still trying to hit his straps when Baugh cut him for four, and Bravo joined in to glide him to the third-man boundary and then past extra cover in an over that fetched 15. Only 53 runs were scored in the first session in 23.5 overs, but West Indies had doubled the day's tally by the tenth over after lunch. Munaf Patel was the most impressive of India's bowlers, making the batsmen play more than his partners did and varying his lengths superbly. He produced a couple of thick edges off Baugh's bat, but both found the boundary. The 50-stand came off 66 balls, but Ishant's persistence broke it.
He maintained a round-the-wicket line to Bravo despite being hit for successive boundaries, and got him to edge a full delivery to Rahul Dravid at slip, but the ball seemed to bounce even as he got his fingers to it. The next ball was slipped wide but Ishant angled one in immediately after and produced an edge to the wicketkeeper even as Bravo looked to withdraw his bat. The counterattack, however, didn't stop.
Baugh was undeterred and it helped that his new companion was the naturally aggressive Darren Sammy, who slashed a couple of boundaries and lofted Ishant cleanly over long-off for the shot of the day. But the spin that had triggered the West Indies recovery also ended it.
India had expected more out of Harbhajan on the fifth day in Barbados, and his effectiveness has declined in recent times, but his landmark today was one to savour. Bowling with a scrambled seam from round the wicket, he dismissed Sammy with a bit of extra bounce to end the stand. He moved to 400 in his next over when Baugh chose the wrong ball to cut, bowled by one pitching on off and turning in a hint. Ishant finished the innings by castling Nos. 10 and 11. The Indian openers played out four overs but rain, bad light, and more rain ensured there was no further play.
The performance of Ishant and Harbhajan backed up a disciplined effort from Munaf and Praveen Kumar in the morning session. Munaf took the lead, working on Chanderpaul with a bouncer, then drawing him forward, angling the ball across and eventually ending his stay with a short-of-a-length delivery that moved away enough to produce a tickle to birthday-boy MS Dhoni. With India's traditional tormentor out of the way, Munaf gave Marlon Samuels a working over with a series of bouncers, one of which thudded into the helmet. Samuels responded with two languid drives but the potentially intriguing mini-battle was cut short by a lazy shot when he hung his bat at a shortish delivery from Praveen and dragged it back onto the stumps. That brought Baugh to the crease, and ushered in a lively passage of play before the weather had the final say on the second straight day.