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After Indian hop, Windies rocked

india Updated: Jul 02, 2006 01:58 IST
Highlight Story

After the batting malfunction on Day 1 of the final Test, Rahul Dravid was still hopeful and said that the bowlers could bring his team back into the game. Brian Lara on the other hand felt the West Indies had a great chance to bat India out of the match.

If not anything else, the visitors were back in the match with a bang at lunch on the second day with the West Indies precariously placed at 80-5. Two wickets in the first hour on Saturday followed by three more in the second, meant that a match was on, one that could go either way. It also made sure that it would take a Herculean effort from the hosts to take the kind of lead Lara was looking at.

Like the West Indies on Friday, India too got off to a fine start. S Sreesanth got Chris Gayle to shoulder arms to one that kept a shade low and came back into the left-hander to hit the off stump. The dangerman from India's point of view -- a quick 50 from whom could easily have brought the hosts close to the total they were after -- was gone for a duck in the first over.

The Kerala speedster had to deliver in this match to justify his place in the team and he was at it again in his sixth over. Brian Lara came in at No.3 in place of an injured Ramnaresh Sarwan and was looking in good touch. After being stroked around for a few fours, Sreesanth got the big wicket with a ball that kicked up off a good length and took the edge before being taken at third slip.

At 42 for two, with the batsmen capable of scoring at a fast clip gone, India were back in the match. It was a commendable performance because they had succeeded in making things tough for the West Indies despite their main strike bowler having an off day.

Munaf Patel has been India's best bowler on tour so far, but he struggled to find the right rhythm on Saturday. He looked stiff running in and instead of pitching it up more often as he had done so well in the earlier matches, cut a sorry figure trying to bowl too many short balls.

He looked better in his second spell after getting just four overs in the first. He was rewarded for bowling a fuller length too when Shivnarine Chanderpaul's wild slash at a wide one took the outside edge and was safely taken by the wicketkeeper.

The bowler to have replaced Patel early on wasted no time to get into the act. Batting at No.4, local star Marlon Samuels did little to justify his promotion in the order and paid the price of leaning too far in front to be smartly stumped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Daren Ganga was trying to steady the ship at lunch after surviving some anxious moments. The opener was lucky to see an edge off being Sreesanth was dropped by Wasim Jaffer at third slip in the bowler's eighth over. His luck ran out at the stroke of lunch when Harbhajan Singh trapped him leg-before in his first over.

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