India finished Day 3 at a safe 281 for 3 in 80 overs with just another 110 needed to avoid the follow on in the Third and Final Test at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. There were three half centuries coming from India out of which Sachin Tendulkar is likely to convert it into a 100th international century on the fourth day. Tendulkar is batting fluently on 67* (from 133 balls with 5 fours and a six) in the company of VVS Laxman (32* from 53 balls with 3 fours).
The hosts trail behind by 309 runs with 7 wickets in hand by the close of play on Day 4. This final Test is most likely to end in a draw as the pitch has played pretty easy for the batsmen and most of the wickets to fall have been due to extravagant shots.
The third day’s play started with West Indies still resuming their first innings as if they wanted to allow R Ashwin a five-wicket haul. Fortunately for Ashwin, he achieved that feat when he cleaned up the off stump of last man Bishoo who went for a big heave. Ashwin bowled 52.1 overs taking five wickets at the cost of 156 runs. West Indies finished their innings with 590 in 184.1 overs on what remained a flat batting track at the Wankhede Stadium.
By the lunch session, India raced away to 74 in 19 overs but lost the big wicket of Virender Sehwag (37 from 50 balls with 3 fours and a six). Sammy who was smashed for a six over extra covers by Sehwag got his revenge when he got one to sneak through the bat pad gate to defeat a flick across the line. After lunch, Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid steadied the ship for India. In the 34th over, there was a wrong Umpiring decision which forced Gautam Gambhir to end his stay in a premature fashion. Gambhir (55 from 99 balls with 8 fours) was beaten by a bouncer from Rampaul in an attempted pull shot outside off. The left hander was unlucky to be given caught behind and the slow motion replays revealed no edge at all.
India were off to a fine start at 138 for 2 when Sachin Tendulkar joined Rahul Dravid. By Tea, there was no further damage for India as they closed the afternoon session at 172 for 2 in 47 overs. About an hour after Tea, Rahul Dravid lost his wicket, as he paid the price for being too positive with his strokeplay against the spinners. Dravid (82 from 149 balls with 11 fours) was bowled when he went back to late cut a full delivery from Marlon Samuels. With two solid partnerships, Rahul Dravid took India to a secured 224 for 3.
By Stumps, India ensured that they would end the day’s play with just the three wickets down. The only possible threat for India is the second new ball which is expected to be taken straightaway.