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India vs West Indies, 1st Test Day 2: India Take Control Of Jamaica Test

By on June 22, 2011

India 246 and 91 for 3 (Dravid 45*) lead West Indies 173 (Barath 64, Praveen 3-38, Ishant 3-29) by 164 runs…

Wednesday would be the day when it all came together for India’s bowlers.

Ishant Sharma produced high speeds and awkward bounce from all the sweet spots on the pitch. Harbhajan Singh dumped his leg-stump darts and started to attack from over the wicket, doing what he does best — trouble batsmen with sharp turn and extra bounce of the kind that had people marking him for great things. And Praveen Kumar, right before he was suspended for stepping in the ‘danger’ area thrice, blew a hole in the West Indies middle-order with a delightful spell of swing bowling.

The finer aspect of India’s performance was what happened after umpire Darryl Harper suspended Praveen. India were reduced to just three bowlers. The spinners had been wicketless so far and Carlton Baugh was threatening to produce a big partnership with Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Harbhajan had Baught caught at silly point and Chanderpaul at bat-pad. Amit Mishra wrapped up the home team’s lower order, which suffered an all-too-familiar collapse.

Yet, with India’s effective lead of 164-3 at the end of Day 2, the Jamaica Test is balanced precariously. Virat Kohli has hung around for 14 with Rahul Dravid, who, in making 45, has looked far more in control than in the first innings.

Kohli had to survive a tough examination of his technique against the bouncer, and Fidel Edwards nearly had him in the final over of the day when a limp defensive shot fell just out of the short-leg’s grasp. Earlier Edwards had struck Kohli on the arm with a bouncer and kept walking up to him to share pleasantries, to which Kohli responded by blowing kisses at him.

The team that wins the morning session on Day 3 should emerge the winner. There’s uneven bounce in this pitch that has aged very quickly and a target of more than 250 could prove extremely challenging. The highest successful chase at the Sabina Park since 1990 is 212 by West Indies against Sri Lanka in 2003.

As India batted with a 73-run lead, Murali Vijay was done in by a shooter from Ravi Rampaul that hit him in front. Rampaul was unlucky to not get Dravid on 6 when skipper Darren Sammy — whose contribution in this game so far has been 0-42 with the ball and 1 with the bat — dropped a regulation slip catch. Sammy made amends by holding on to a sharp return catch from VVS Laxman, who made 0 to go with his first innings 12. This was shortly after Abhinav Mukund was caught behind off Devendra Bishoo having made a hard-earned 25.

Ishant, Praveen Strike Rich

Earlier, Ishant removed Ramnaresh Sarwan with his first ball of the day. Sarwan prepared to the leave the ball, saw it ducking in, and was hit on the pads. Ian Gould ruled it out, but had there been DRS, Sarwan may have survived because of being struck marginally outside the off-stump.

Ishant should have had Darren Bravo, who was put down in the slips and then given not out to a caught behind in the same over. But it didn’t matter once Praveen’s probing spell started.

The UP pacer swung the ball at sharp angles in both directions for prolonged periods. He showed excellent control, forcing the batsmen to play. A wicket was a matter of time. In four overs before lunch, he took three.

Adrian Barath (64) and Bravo (18) both edged the outswinger behind. Brendan Nash was squared up by the away-moving delivery, leading to another edge to the slips. After lunch, Praveen was warned a third time for stepping on the wicket and had to be removed.

Dravid’s record away from the sub-continent has dwindled since his gutsy show at this ground in 2006. He’s had a life in this innings. What better time than now to work his way to a match-winning hundred?

Source: AR Hemant, Yahoo! Cricket

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