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Mukund impresses, as India carry on

Getting an early first class break and making an impression does not always guarantee progress into international cricket. And one can soon find Test cricket a steep climb.

cricket Updated: Jul 02, 2011 01:25 IST
N Ananthanarayanan

Getting an early first class break and making an impression does not always guarantee progress into international cricket. And one can soon find Test cricket a steep climb.

The 21-year-old Abhinav Mukund had done plenty, the left-handed opener having scored 13 centuries, including a triple as a teenager, after making his first class debut four years ago.

Although his debut in the first Test in Kingston came thanks to the absence of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, and skipper MS Dhoni's preference for a regular opener instead of Parthiv Patel, he had to display the grit required to convince the selectors he belongs at the highest level.

India were 143 for two at tea on the penultimate day with Rahul Dravid (48) and VVS Laxman (26) having raised a 54-run partnership. The overall lead stood at 154. Anything over 200 will give India hope of forcing a win if weather does not play spoilsport further.

Mukund underlined his temperament on a fourth day's Kensington Oval pitch on Friday, freshened up under the covers. He used an initial back and across movement, and although he took a blow to the body after taking his eyes off a Rampaul delivery, he tackled the short-pitched deliveries and played some pleasing shots square of thewicket.

Fidel Edwards finally got the better of the youngster close to his maiden half-century, after lunch, but Mukund seemed to have done just enough to interest the selectors when they pick the squad for England on Saturday. Mukund added 63 runs with Rahul Dravid after opening partner Murali Vijay fell to Rampaul for the fourth time in the series.

The number one standby opener coming into the series has scores of 8, 0, 11 and 3 and may have to make way for Parthiv Patel in the final Test starting in Dominica on July 6. Rampaul again exposed his poor technique. Dravid had a close call on nine when he flicked Darren Sammy and Adrian Barath at square leg claimed a catch diving forward. But umpires ruled him not out after TV replays proved inconclusive. West Indies bowlers were sharp but the pitch slowed down a bit.