The Indian Middle Order Shows Its Class




After long last and much criticism, the Indian middle order finally clicked together and came alive at the Eden Gardens on Tuesday, giving India full control of the second Test match. After a dismal series in England where none of the batsmen other than Rahul Dravid showed any sort of form, VVS Laxman and MS Dhoni gave able impetus to the batting and helped India reach a formidable score of 631-7 after which the declaration came.

VVS Laxman celebrates his century

VVS Laxman celebrates his century

West Indies had a chance at the start of the day with India being 5 wickets down for 326 runs and in-form Dravid back in the hut considering which they should have turned on the pressure right from the first ball on Day 2 but it was not to be. There was variable bounce at the start of the day with humid weather conditions and the ball was darting around. This was the ideal opportunity for the West Indian quickies Fidel Edwards and Kemar Roach who have the ability to extract swing and bounce but they failed to seize it.

VVS Laxman and Dravid put on a stand of 140 runs for the fourth wicket on Day 1 reminding us of the many such moments the 2 have provided to help India reach a respectable total and it is time India looks beyond these stalwarts for a brighter future. MS Dhoni provided just the innings required of him reaffirming the fact that he is still as good a batsman, as he is a Captain. Yuvraj Singh failed yet again making it harder for him considering the critical position he is in his career added to the number of youngsters coming in.

The West Indians had a very defensive field for most of the day with even Fidel Edwards bowling to a 7-2 field. The spinners couldn’t do much as Dhoni was in a belligerent mood going at over 4 runs an over. Due to the overcast skies, the lighting was really poor and a bizarre stoppage occurred at 10:40 am in the morning. The wristy Laxman carved another of his magnificent innings in Eden, a ground on which he has an average of 110.63 and reached his first century in 15 months. Windies then made a smart move by bowling all their fast bowlers to make sure play was suspended.

Post-Lunch it was entirely India’s day as the West Indies went through the motions and Dhoni played smart cricket to score 144 runs in quick time. This enabled India to declare with a possible 24 overs to go. It was time for the West Indians to make the most of the wicket and try finishing the day with all wickets in hand but Umesh Yadav bowled a peach of a delivery in the second over to dismiss Adrian Barath.

Kirk Edwards and Kraigg Brathwaite chose to play the spinners off their back foot and this protective play enabled the Indian spinners to get the fielders to crowd around the bat and Ashwin managed to get the better of Brathwaite. Then light deteriorated and play was called off prematurely. This was by far the best day for India in its last 2 test series and they deserve to be in the position they are in. As far as the West Indians are concerned, they should believe in themselves and mange to get as close to the Indian total as possible and not get too over-whelmed.

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