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West Indies show a bit of grit after morning blues

india Updated: Nov 23, 2011 12:28 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
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The West Indies on Wednesday showed the importance of the knocks played by Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman on the first two days of the second Test at Eden Gardens. They collapsed to 153 all out in the first innings by doing exactly the opposite of what the two Indian batsmen had done, but applied the lessons in the second innings to ensure the match did not get over in three days.

The visitors will start Day 4 on 195 for three, still 283 runs behind India's first-innings total of 631 for seven declared, which had been built on the foundation set by Dravid and Laxman and given its final shape by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

All three scored centuries and the West Indies will hope their unbeaten batsmen, Darren Bravo (38) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (21), can do something similar.


"The important thing is to make India bat again," said West Indies opener Adrian Barath, who scored his third Test fifty in the second innings. "We hope we can bowl well on the fourth day and finish the match," said India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. As on Wednesday, play will start half-an-hour early, at 8.30am, on Thursday too.

Putting up a fight
Half-centuries by comeback man Barath and Kirk Edwards played an important role in the West Indies fightback after the first-innings collapse.

The duo played forward as much as they could and waited for bad balls to add 93 runs for the second wicket.

Faced with resistance for the first time in the match, the India bowlers did not lose patience or concentration. Ishant Sharma, who bowled only five wicketless overs in the first inning, came to the party after tea and got both Barath and Edwards.

Falling like ninepins
The West Indies first innings was an anomaly in the context of the match. The collapse that saw the visitors lose eight wickets for 119 runs in under two-and-a-half hours during the extended morning session on Day 3 was probably the result of a combination of factors: the weight of the runs they were chasing, the loss of two quick wickets on Tuesday afternoon and the early start on Wednesday morning.

Most of the batsmen did not stay at the crease long enough to get their eye in and those who did contributed to their own downfall: Bravo brought his bat down at an angle and dragged the ball on to the stumps and Marlon Samuels played inside the line of one that straightened a touch.

Yadav got both wickets, to go with the one he took late on Day 2.

Ojha finished with four wickets to complete 50 Test dismissals and had a boot in Kemar Roach's run out. Ashwin scalped two, including the big wicket of Chanderpaul who was trapped in front while shuffling.