The Indian team really enjoyed playing on home turf, when they went in to bat on Sunday. After many months, the batting came good, and while some may argue that they only play well on featherbeds, I feel scoring 330-plus is a good performance even on that wicket.
That said, the West Indians too were not out of it till the end, and they should be applauded for putting up such a spirited performance even though they had no match practice after landing in India. Chris Gayle continues his good form, and his partnership with Shivnarine Chanderpaul at the top of the order is the right solution for West Indies’ long-standing opening crisis.
The bowlers on both sides had a real rough day, but I am sure the Indians will be going into the rest of the games with a fifth bowler. They might have opted for an extra bat considering the poor run their batsmen had in South Africa. Now that the top order looks in good touch, they will have the confidence to play the extra bowler.
For the Indians, the big news is the solid performance of Sourav Ganguly. I would not term this a return since he was already in the thick of international cricket during the Test series.
The selectors have brought him back at the right time. He was dropped when the team felt that he needed a strong reminder about his responsibility towards the team and towards his own talent. And when the selectors have picked him again, it’s because he has shown a commitment towards the game that they felt was missing earlier.
The Indians were also in excellent form at the end of the innings with Rahul Dravid matching the flamboyant MS Dhoni shot for shot.
The performance of the other opener Gautam Gambhir is also a plus, because it gives the Indians more options at the top of the order.
For the West Indies, it was clear that the bowlers were not fully acclimatised. Full credit to the team for running the hosts close because it’s not easy to play a game in alien conditions without any match-practice.
I still feel this series would have been a great idea at some other point in the cricket calendar. The way the players have been made to play with no preparation or match practice shows that the people in the WICB don't have their cricketers at heart.
Clearly the administrators in the Caribbean are out of touch with the requirements of modern sport, and are focussed on money matters.
The second game is a day-night affair and both teams will be going in on an even keel. The visitors were excellent on Sunday, even though they did not pull it off in the end.
The experienced guys and top order on both sides have seemed in good touch at Nagpur, and it looks like the run feast will continue for the next three games as well.