India Vs West Indies: 1st Test Review




India vs West Indies: 1st Test Review

India vs West Indies: 1st Test Review

It was finally time for some good old fashioned Test match cricket, after a slew of ODIs and Twenty20s. The first Test got underway on a crumbling Sabina Park wicket in Jamaica. West Indies went in with six batsmen and two quick bowlers in Edwards and Rampaul, while Devendra Bishoo was the lone spinner. India handed Test debuts to Abhinav Mukund,Virat Kohli and Praveen Kumar as Munaf Patel missed out due to an elbow injury. Indian skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat.

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It all started to go horribly wrong for India, on a wicket which had variable bounce for the seamers and sharp turn for the spinners. Vijay cut straight to point and Mukund dragged one on from Rampaul as the West Indians started to make inroads. Rahul Dravid was at his fluent best but Bishoo rocked the Indians with a three over spell either side of lunch to leave the visitors tottering at 85-6. Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh counter-attacked and the bowlers did not know what hit them.A 146 run partnership ended when Bishoo took a wonderful catch at deep square leg to dismiss Harbhajan for 70. The rest of the wickets fell cheaply and Raina was the last man out for 82. West Indies began their innings very cautiously as they ended the first day at 31-1 in reply to India’s 246.

The second day saw Praveen Kumar swing the ball prejudiously but Sarwan fell to Ishant’s first ball. Praveen then stepped in claiming the well set Barath for 64, Bravo and Nash to reduce the hosts to 119-5. The dogged Chanderpaul’s vigil came to end as Harbhajan got among the wickets, while the tail collapsed in a heap to be bowled out for 173, handing India a vital 73 run lead. Praveen Kumar was banned from bowling in the innings after running on the danger zone but he had already done the damage along with Ishant who also picked up three wickets. Vijay fell for a duck as the Windies staged a comeback, and Mukund and Dravid , who was let off by Sammy at 6, slowly accumulated runs, with a determined 56 run stand. Mukund fell to Bishoo while Laxman had a rare second innings failure failing to trouble the scorers. Some hostile fast bowling from Edwards to Kohli, livened up the day, as India finished day 2 at 91-3, 164 runs ahead.

On Day 3, Kohli fell to a short delivery form Edwards, but Raina came out looked fluent before he became Bishoo’s next victim. A quick 16 from Dhoni, and the wickets of Harbhajan and Praveen Kumar in quick succession, reduced India to 183-8, still only 256 runs ahead. However, Rahul Dravid was still at the other end, conjuring up a masterclass, and together with Amit Mishra added 56 crucial runs, as Dravid reached his 32nd Test match hundred. He was the last man out for 112, as India were bowled out for 252.The Windies began the chase of 326 in positive fashion, reaching 50 without loss in the 10th over. The visitors struck through Praveen and Ishant, reducing the hosts to 81-3, but Bravo and Chanderpaul took them to 131-3 at close to set up a tantalising final day.

195 runs with 7 wickets in hand was the equation heading into the fourth day, but the 68 run stand was ended by Praveen Kumar who was impressive yet again. Chanderpaul and Baugh fell quickly as West Indies were reduced to 150-6. Some brilliant hitting by Sammy, Rampaul and Bishoo reduced the deficit, but it was always going to be a herculean task. Raina took the last wicket as West Indies were bowled for 262, India winning by 63 runs.

The West Indian batting left a lot to be desired and their top order would do well to learn from the application shown by their lower order. India on the other hand, will be unhappy with their below par batting performances as well as the inability of their spinners to take wickets on a turning track.

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