5.6.06

Cricket: India vs W.I. First Test.

So far both teams have complete an innings each and at present India has a very marginal lead of 85 runs. The balance is just in favour of India. The West Indians still have a chance. A lot depends upon the type of knock both captains play.
This is the review of the match so far.

Indian First Innings.

The Indian captain looked at the pitch and then did the first good thing; he won the toss and decided to bat first on a pitch which was a batsman-friendly-seamer’s-pitch.
Let me take some time to the italicised term. It is a pitch that will respect batting from attacking batsmen like Sehwag, stroke players like Laxman and Yuvraj grit players like Kaif, smasher like Dhoni. Dravid will graft on any given pitch going by his records for past three years. It will also respect bowlers like Colleymore who are willing to put the ball in right places. The first day is always tough as it often makes or breaks the test match.

Poor start and a downhill drive from then.
Indian once again started poorly with Jaffer coaxed into playing at a ball which he could have left on the merit of length and the height of the ball. The “length” pertains to the place were the ball pitched and the “height” refers to the bounce of the delivery at the point of impact with the ball. There was movement all day batsmen left a lot to be desired when it came to application.

Dravid’s grit grinds India to halt.
Dravid has been so good that sometimes his “good” turns their back to him and begin a game of Chinese whispers. The players have to release that Dravid’s role is to keep them safe and they have to rock the opposition by exchanging strikes, running hard, and make sure the pace of the innings is sustained. Dravid batted and batted for ages for making his 49. It is good to stay on the wicket but it is more important to rotate the strike and make runs. Dravid sometimes seems hell bent on allowing the bowlers to bowl to a batsmen and over after over is allowed to go away. He should be more proactive in rotating the strike and making sure the extra run is always eagerly accepted.

India pass the initiative back to the host.
Indian batsmen passed on the initiative back to the West Indians after a very ordinary start. Laxman and Sehwag both were looking good. The problem is both are stroke-players and they both seem to offer chances throughout the innings. Sehwag and Laxman both would have done well if they had chosen the right ball. Both could have left the ball on the merit of length alone. They also seem to have got out after getting the starts. Yuvraj always looks susceptible to spin. Kaif is wasted at four down. Dhoni played couple of shorts more then required. The good thing about the batting was the tailed wagged and helped giving the score some sense of respectability.
The Indians passed out after making 241. It was after India chose to go in 6 regular batsmen and a very good batting-wicket keeper.

West Indian First Innings.
The West Indians would have started their innings on a very positive note. The new that trio of Indian pace bowlers together had played 4 matches in between them. Irfan was “rested” and Agarkar who always looked busy either restricting was dropped sighting “One Day Only” tag. Ganga was LBW by a very good delivery by Munaf. Gayle looked threatening and looked very much at comfort against the new ball attack, I think he would have licked his lips and said to himself “I m lovin’ it”. He began tonking and ran amock between the Indian pace trio he kept smacking them all over ARG. He has grown a certain liking to Indian pace attack. The same liking can be seen in many other left handers all over the world of cricket, Hayden, Jayasuriya, Sayeed Anwar, Chanderpaul to just name a few.

Starring Kumble, in a double role.
Kumble has been so good in Indian pitches. He has started looking threatening on foreign pitches as well after the last Indian tour down under. In the forced absences of Pathan and Harbhajan and stupid exclusion of Agarkar, Kumble might have found himself in a double role where he had to plug the haemorrhage of runs, tie the batsmen downs. He did his job wonderfully by claiming Gayle and Sarwan and finishing off the innings by polishing Colleymore. He has always continue to amaze even when the Indian batsmen have sometimes got the credits for winning series at home.

Sehwag pitches in with a couple.
Sehwag pitched in with couple of wickets plucking out Chanderpaul and Bravo with some very impressive off-spin show. The dismissal of Bravo would have pleased even Harbhajan Singh. It was a flighted delivery at a teasing length with Bravo reading “heave at me” instead of reading the spin and the bounce of the ball. Dhoni took a brilliant take and whipped the bails in a flash while Bravo never managed to come back to the safety of the crease. Bravo at this moment in time can’t do no wrong I am sure he will play a crucial part if West Indies have to win this series along with Chanderpaul, Gayle and Colleymore.

The Indians control the wagging West Indian tail.
The lower West Indian batsmen are no easy to dismiss. Bradshaw can play under pressure, Ramadin looked in control till the point he got out to a very taxing Munaf delivery. VRV pitched couple of short balls directed at the body and managed to rattle a couple of wickets. Kumble came in and gave a very clinical finish to the innings. The Indians restricted the West Indians below the psychological 400 run mark and West Indians managed to grab a decisive lead of 130 runs.

Indians Second Innings.
The Indians started well with Sehwag and Jaffer going great guns. The matter were also helped by Fidel Edward’s being forced to go off the field. It lead to West Indian attack with out the edge of a very good fast bowler in the middle of a hostile spell. Sehwag who looks susceptible at any stage of the match again like in first innings got a start and then played a lose short to be caught behind a sad end to a promising innings.

Was it Laxman?
VVS Laxman is all out wrist class and elegance. He hit couple of boundaries which were pure delight to watch and I would watch them all over again, this is ver Laxaman often hurts. The follow up to awesome shorts is often ordinary. He all of a sudden looked weak against spin. If anyone managed to see a complete highlights package try watching couple of shots he played before he got out, he gave out some negative wibes and looked like getting out to anybody. He was trying to manufacture some shots and looked very ugly while doing so. He feel to Mohamed try to play a cross batted shot which looked half heave and half sweep and manage an easy take to Bradshaw stationed at long on. It was a very ugly and very unlike Laxman shots. It is easily one of the most awful shot that Laxman has ever played as a batsman.

Raise a toast to Wasim Jaffer.
He is a typical Indian batsman. He is very wristy, prefers legside and looks vulnerable while driving/defending on the offside. He managed to stay focus even after being beaten many times. He helped the team not only to wipe of the deficit but also gain a marginal lead of 85 runs. He should look to add atleast 50 more runs by himself.

Dravid, a key to all locked victories abroad.
Dravid has to guide Indian batting line to safety so as to ensire that we don’t lose. A draw perhaps would be a fare result. It is long way away though. The batting to follow has a very limited experience when it comes to test cricket. He should also make runs rather then gluing himself to the crease and undermining the path to victory. India has to look to bat atleast 2 and a half session below which the match is for the West Indian taking. A scenario in which the West Indians have to track down 325 runs on the last day would be interesting. The point to note is the same West Indian side holds the record for the largest run chase of 418 runs to their credit on the same ground. Dravid is the key to the target while Kumble is the key to defending it.

This all boils down in making of a very good test match. I would love to see India taking this match but it is far easier thing to do, West Indies have everything to play for.

2 comments:

Sesh said...

With a formidable lead, all rests on Kumble. Lets see whether he can spin India home.

The Light-House. said...

Yes.Though to get all wickets by himself, looks like heading for a draw.