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Plunge from hope to despair

india Updated: Nov 17, 2011 20:02 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya
fearless to listless


A moment on Tuesday morning best encapsulated how the West Indies had gone from fearless to listless in the space of the four days between the first Test and the second.

In the second over after an early lunch, MS Dhoni played a forehand down the ground to dismiss a Fidel Edwards short ball from his presence. No one bothered to chase it to the long-on boundary, neither was anyone looking when the ball was thrown back in.

Kirk Edwards at mid-on woke up only when the ball was going past him and lumbered to pick it up. His throw back to Edwards was so high that mid-off 'backing up' missed it too and had to run towards the boundary to retrieve it. It was something of a surprise, the time it took when Edwards finally got his hands on the ball and went on to bowl.

Lapses galore
Day 1 was characterised by the West Indies pacers bowling down the leg, spinners dropping short and fielders diving over the ball or not getting down in time while others stood around with hands on hips. Day 2 was worse as Dhoni and VVS Laxman tore into the attack.

After Yuvraj Singh's early dismissal, Kemar Roach had Dhoni caught behind twice off no-balls in two overs. The mistakes cost West Indies more than the Fidel Edwards no-ball that bowled Virender Sehwag in the first Test in Delhi. Dhoni, reprieved on 13 and 16, ended up with 144.

Captain Darren Sammy was reduced to packing the off-side field and bowling wide outside off-stump. With the same field, Fidel Edwards was straying down leg. The spinners, specialists and part-timers alike, bowled a number of full tosses.

So impressive in Delhi, Sammy appeared to run out of ideas as captain here. On Day 1, he did not set attacking fields to the new batsmen. And once the batsmen got set, Sammy started chasing the ball.

He had won the battle of captains in Delhi, bowling Dhoni off his legs. Here, Dhoni made mincemeat of his medium-pace.

The West Indies team management, however, tried to protect the players, knowing that the Test series is not even halfway through and the one-dayers will follow. "It's a flat wicket and it was always going to be difficult for the bowlers," West Indies manager Richie Richardson said after the day's play, describing Sammy as an "exceptional leader".