India look to wrap it up with spin
Buoyant India will hope to dominate the West Indies again with spin as they bid to secure a series-clinching win in the second Test starting at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Monday.Updated: Nov 12, 2011 11:05 IST
Buoyant India will hope to dominate the West Indies again with spin as they bid to secure a series-clinching win in the second Test starting at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Monday.
The latest spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha shared 16 wickets to help India cruise to a five-wicket victory in the opening contest of the three-match series in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Left-arm spinner Ojha had a six-wicket haul in the first innings and debutant off-spinner Ashwin also took six in the second innings on a low, slow turning track to trouble the West Indies batsmen.
The duo's success came at the right time for India, who had been looking for match-winning spinners after the retirement of Anil Kumble in 2008 and Harbhajan Singh's recent slump in form.
Ashwin, who replaced Harbhajan, did not let the selectors down with match figures of 9-128, the second-best haul by an Indian debutant after leg-spinner Narendra Hirwani's 16-136 against the West Indies in 1988.
Ashwin, who is getting married on Sunday, was lauded by the legendary Indian off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna for his disciplined performance which earned him the man-of-the-match award.
"I am impressed with the way Ashwin bowled in the first Test," said Prasanna. "His line and length was impeccable, his basics were right and he used his height well to generate spin."
The Eden Gardens wicket has traditionally helped spin and it is unlikely to be any different this time, leaving the tourists with a tough task if they are to bounce back in the series.
India also batted well in the second innings in New Delhi when they comfortably chased a challenging 276-run target on the difficult pitch.
Batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar, who is on the verge of an unprecedented 100th international century, showed the way with a solid 76 before Venkatsai Laxman completed the win with an unbeaten half-century.
Opener Virender Sehwag provided brisk starts with Gautam Gambhir in both the innings with a pair of half-centuries, while veteran Rahul Dravid cracked a fighting 54 in the first innings.
The West Indies had seized the early advantage when they bowled India out for 209 after posting 304 in the first innings, but failed to capitalise on it and crashed to 180 in the second innings.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul offered the main resistance, scoring 118 and 47 in the match.
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy conceded his batsmen needed to solve the Indian spin puzzle soon to stay alive in the series.
"We need to find a way to score against spin. Attacking against the spinners could be an option like Chanderpaul showed in both the innings," he said.
"We could have been more positive without being reckless. That is something we can look at for the second Test. We will work hard at the nets to get it right.
"We were ahead for a portion of the match and we should have maintained that advantage. In many ways we see this as an opportunity missed as we let India back into the match and they took it away from us," said Sammy.
West Indies seamers Sammy and Fidel Edwards, and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo impressed in the last Test, but they will need to keep constant pressure on the formidable Indian batting line-up.
First Published: Nov 12, 2011 11:02 IST