The six-foot-five-inch Johnson was quick and accurate to earn career-best figures of six for 34 from 17 menacing overs. It was a superb effort on his home ground as he was backed by family and friends in the crowd. He rocked the Indian top order with four wickets in the final hour on Monday, and picked up two more in the first hour on Tuesday morning.
Permaul made wise use of the ‘rough’ on a fourth-day pitch to take four for 22 against India’s talented batting line-up, which includes three batsmen with triple-centuries in first-class cricket and two others who average 60 at the first-class level.
Johnson ended with eight wickets in the match while Permaul took nine wickets. The superb bowling performance earned the West Indies a series-levelling result following the narrow two-wicket defeat they suffered in the opening Digicel ‘Test’ in Barbados a week ago.
Speaking after the match, Permaul said he was pleased with his side’s showing over the four days.
“It feels really good to get this win. We played well and when you play well you deserve some success,” the 22-year-old Guyanese said. “India have a ‘big’ batting line-up with guys who are well known in the IPL and some who have done well in domestic cricket and also in international cricket. But we knew once we worked hard and played good cricket over the four days we could beat them.”
The captain added: “This is a good comeback after the way we lost in Barbados. We felt we should have won there. After that defeat we were a bit down. But we came back here and got it right. This pitch favours spin, so I backed myself to do well. I knew once I bowled a bit quicker than I bowled in Barbados, I would get some turn and the ball would ‘bite’. It was great to see the way Johnno (Johnson) bowled. He gave everything. He never stopped running in.”
Permaul had special praise for batsmen Jonathan Carter, who made a match-high 74 off 97 balls and Donovan Pagon, who batted despite a very stiff back to make 67 with four sixes off 72 balls. They added 86 for the sixth wicket in the West Indies second innings to set India a challenging target.
“This was not an easy pitch to bat on. As you could see from the scores it was not that easy to play your shots. You had to be quite patient and look to stick it out. The way they came out yesterday (Monday) and dominated the bowling was great to see at a crucial stage in the match. They kept us in the game and gave us something to bowl at. A lot of credit must go to them,” Permaul said.
“This shows that we are playing as a team and people are taking responsibility. When we needed batsmen in the first innings, Kraigg (Brathwaite) put his hand up with a fighting knock … in the second innings, Carter and Pagon were positive and forced the Indians to back off a bit.”