Feroz Shah Kotla: With 17 wickets falling in the day, the first test between 3rd ranked India and 7th ranked West Indies is poised for an exciting competition to the joy of the enthusiastic Delhi audience.
West Indies added only 40 odd runs and Chanderpaul, India’s nemesis for over a decade now, was dismissed for 118 by Ishant who got one to straighten just a bit to trap Chanders lbw, courtesy his trademark shuffle and WI just could not resist Ojha’s nagging line and wickets fell like a heap of cards and WI ended their 1st innings at 304 with Ojha picking up 6/72 off 34.2 overs.
Indian spinners relished the uneven bounce and scalped the WI wickets for a seemingly par-score and now the onus was on Viru, on a comeback after a hiatus and buoy; he didn’t disappoint his home audience. The Delhi opening pair re-kindled their charisma and entertained their home crowd to some delightful batting display. Fidel Edwards was on the anvil and Sehwag just relished his 145kmph firings as he went on to score 55 off 46 balls with 9 fours and Gambhir played his role aptly rotating strike and playing second fiddle to Viru. The pair added 89 for the first wicket when Sammy just managed to get some fingers off a Sehwag straight drive that went on to hit the stumps and with Gauti found short of crease. India were 89 for 1.
Rahul Dravid provided resistance for most part of the Indian innings but wickets kept falling at regular intervals at the other side and only Yuvraj and Ishant managed double figure scores and Dravid eventually was the second last man to be out. Sammy picked up 3 wickets while Bishoo and Rampaul pitched in with 2 wickets each. Sammy led from the front with his bowling and was aggressive in his captaincy by persisting with improbable field setting which only meant that he had done his homework for the Indian stalwarts. Laxman was a wicket well deserved by the West Indians. After a fiery over from Fidel, Bishoo came in and lured Laxman with a popper on the off stump and laxman eventually nicked it to Baugh, who had the day of his life on a cricket ground. His stumpings and performance behind the stumps would definitely get him applause from Ottis Gibson.
With a lead of 95 runs WI were left with 21 overs to play for the day and Dhoni without any hesitation started the proceedings with Ojha and Ashwin. Ashwin scalped for Powell when Gambhir caught him on his 3rd attempt in the second over for a duck, the fourth of the day. Braithwaite faced 41 balls of attacking spin and obnoxious field placing for his score of 2 (guess he got inspiration from 2 legends in the ground, Chanders and Dravid) after being eventually being caught plumb in front of the stumps off Ojha.
At stumps, West Indies were 21 for 2 after 21 overs and India have hopped in the driver’s seat and it would be an exciting 3rd day’s play tomorrow unless Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo decide to show some Caribbean flavour of gritty and flamboyant southpaw batting display.
By: G. K. SUBHASH