Nov 08, 2011 Sports
Yahoo! Cricket – The Ashes defeat of 2005 was a life-altering one for many Australian players. After their unchallenged run for years, the defeat told them that they could no longer expect to win just by showing up. The shock forced them to question what’s important to them. After hitting this low, the Aussies fixed their priorities and unleashed another reign of unparalleled success.
India too, having had unprecedented success, are at a point where they need to understand that opponents won’t wave the white flag at their mere sight. As West Indies showed yesterday, they will do everything in their powers to bruise India’s ego and bring them down.
17 WICKETS IN A DAY
On a wicket where one ball crawls along the surface and the next turns and bounces, West Indies’ 95-run lead (116-2 at the day end) is a huge one. Not surprisingly, 17 wickets fell yesterday. India opened the bowling with spin at both ends and managed to get both openers. But a half-decent effort in the second innings could help the visitors set a challenging target.
West Indies are in Test match mode, having beaten Bangladesh recently. India, however, were shockingly casual at various points of their first innings, and can consider themselves lucky that they aren’t facing a bigger deficit.
West Indies, lead ably by Darren Sammy, took only 10 wickets, but had to put in the effort needed for 12 or 13. But perhaps their stand-out performer was wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh, whose smart stumping of Virender Sehwag and a couple of sharp catches kept West Indies on top.
QUICK START FROM SEHWAG, GAMBHIR
Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were fortunate to get into double figures after a hostile first spell from Fidel Edwards and Ravi Rampaul. Gambhir came close to being caught in the slip cordon a couple of times. In Edward’s final over before lunch, Sehwag survived a run-out (for the want of a flat throw from the deep), was bowled off a no-ball next, and survived a slash that was minutely out of gully’s grasp.
The openers were more convincing in the 30 minutes after lunch by when India had raced to 89 in the 13th over. Then, the casualness kicked in. Gambhir strolled out of his crease at the non-striker’s end with the bat in his wrong hand — a mistake so elementary, even schoolboys would be careful not to commit it. This was enough to run him out when a hard drive from Sehwag deflected off Sammy’s hands into the stumps.
Sehwag said sorry and promptly drilled a couple of fours through the off-side, bringing up a fifty in just 36 balls. He then tried to paddle Devendra Bishoo and dragged his backfoot momentarily to prevent falling over, offering Baugh a split second to whip the bails off for a stumping.
Sachin Tendulkar was caught in front by a fast, slow, straight ball from Edwards and VVS Laxman’s poor run continued when he chased a harmless leg-spinner from Bishoo into Baugh’s gloves. Yuvraj, making yet another Test comeback, looked good and comfortable, tonking Bishoo for two sixes in his favourite hitting arc. But then he played a loose drive off Sammy to be caught at cover. In the same over, MS Dhoni played on trying to work one across the line. From then on, the West Indians didn’t let the pressure fall.
Rahul Dravid was left to defend the tail yet again. Adding 49 with Ishant Sharma, Dravid did well to minimise damages. But on 54 he fell to the pull shot.
Earlier, Pragyan Ojha finished the first innings with 6-72 in the first innings. He has been relentlessly accurate and patient, two qualities India will have to bank on if they are to save this match.
Scores: West Indies 304 (Chanderpaul 118, Brathwaite 63, Ojha 6-72, Ashwin 3-81) and 21 for 2 (K Edwards 15*, F Edwards 0*) lead India 209 (Sehwag 55, Dravid 54, Sammy 3-35) by 116 runs.
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