Gros Islet (St Lucia), Aug 14: India's comprehensive victory margin in the third Test against the West Indies firmly indicated that the gulf between the two sides is still very much existent, despite the hosts' valiant fight back in Jamaica.
3rd Test scorecard; Ind-WI series schedule
There were obvious differences in the course of day five of these two respective Tests.
Rain on day four at Sabina Park had made the pitch easier to bat on, so much so that it had gone to sleep. Here, in St Lucia, rain washed out day three and play on day four meant that the pitch was scuffed up just enough.
(Virat Kohli lauds Bhuvneshwar for bringing match under India's grip)
More importantly though, the liveliest pitch in the Caribbean lived up to its reputation where it provided the bowlers that little help throughout the match. At one point in the match, India were struggling though, and at 130/5, the hosts were very much in it.
Ravichandran Ashwin then came up with another superlative hundred, and allowed the visitors to breathe again. His move to No 6 has brought rich dividends for the team, and the amount of responsibility he has shouldered means that playing five bowlers is easy for Virat Kohli.
While he ponders over the top-order combination, the middle order feels safe and India's batting depth hasn't been harmed. Thereafter, of course, there is Ashwin's spin for the opposition to contend with as well.
"He is obviously a quality bowler and the beauty is that he makes you play a lot of deliveries. There are not many deliveries that you don't have to play and he has good variations as well. He is a clever bowler and he knows what he is about and he knows what he sets up to do.
"He can set fields and bowl to them. Ideally this is what test cricket is about," said Jason Holder, about the man who has single-handedly pushed his team back in this series.
With Ashwin giving solidity at no.6, and Wriddhiman Saha given the freedom to express his batting abilities at no.7, Kohli is able to round up his bowling attack as per the conditions available to him.
It is an obvious pointer of Indian cricket that they usually do go in with two pacers and spinners each. Overseas, the fifth bowler is a pacer and in the sub-continent an extra spinner takes up that role.