An eventful second day’s play which saw 12 wickets going down has resulted India sitting pretty in the driver’s seat! The visitors captured a handsome first innings lead of 73 runs finished the second day at 91 for 3. West Indies threw away the advantage by getting bundled out for 173 with pacers Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar taking three wickets each. India has got an overall lead of 164 runs with plenty of batting left.
Tale of the Morning Session :
West Indies resuming at an overnight total of 34 for 1 in 20 overs had a bad start losing the experienced Ramnaresh Sarwan in just the 2nd over of the morning. Infact Ishant Sharma struck with the very first ball of a fresh spell when his indipper had Sarwan rapped up on the pad in a forward defence with the impact being outside off. However the Umpire reckoned that Sarwan (3 from 30 balls) was pretending to play a shot with his bat tucked well inside the pad.
It was only matter of time before India made further inroads but they were defied by the diminutive Adrian Barath who played some gutsy shots to keep the scoreboard moving amidst some quiet overs. After getting past a second Test fifty, Barath got a magical outswinger from debutant Praveen Kumar which curled in towards middle but swung away late to force an edge which was caught by the diving MS Dhoni. Opener Barath lasted 122 balls scoring 64 with 9 fours and a six while taking his side to 91 for 3 in 37 overs.
Praveen Kumar was in the middle of a dream spell as he went onto produce two more beautiful outswingers which had Windies reeling at 102 for 5 by the 43rd over! First was the left handed Darren Bravo who early on survived a faint nick off Ishant which wasn’t picked by the Umpire. The left hander eventualy got dismissed in the 39th over when he edged a forward defence to an outswinger to the keeper. Bravo was fighting until then with 18 from 56 balls with 2 fours. Praveen’s next victim was the left handed Brendan Nash (1 from 11 balls) who went back for a flick shot around middle but the ball swung away late to catch a leading edge which was taken at third slip by Raina. MS Dhoni by this time was having an attacking field set up and it looked pretty difficult for West Indies to score any runs! The hosts went into Lunch at 119 for 5 in 46 overs.
Tale of the Afternoon Session :
There was a twist in the action after lunch with Praveen Kumar getting suspended from bowling in the rest of the innings after getting three official warnings from Daryl Harper for running on the danger area of the pitch! There was also a potentially fighting partnership that was developing between Chanderpaul and Carlton Baugh. With a bowler short, India wasn’t looking that good in getting the remaining wickets but fortunately Harbhajan Singh and Ishant Sharma lifted their respective games in the nick of time!
It needed almost 15 overs to break the 6th wicket partnership and it was Harbhajan coming up with a fizzing off break which forced a bat pad edge to silly point from Carlton Baugh (27 from 35 balls with 2 fours and a six). The 6th wicket added up 45 runs with West Indies moving to 147 for 6 by the 57th over. The next wicket was quite quick to fall with the West Indian Captain Darren Sammy (1) playing all around a full length pacy inswinger from Ishant Sharma in the 60th over which smashed the timber right through the gate. Four balls later, India’s headache if any was all over when Shivnarine Chanderpaul in a backfoot flick got a thin inside edge off the thigh which was caught at shortleg. Harbhajan was the bowler unleashing a quicker top spinner which kicked up off the pitch. Chanderpaul departed after a 74-ball 23 leaving West Indies at 152 for 8.
Amit Mishra joined the party taking the remaining two wickets as West Indies collapsed to 173 in 67.5 overs. His first wicket broke a stubborn partnership between Fidel Edwards and Ravi Rampaul. It was Edwards (7 from 28 balls) who got out edging a cut shot off a quicker one to the keeper. A couple of balls later, last man left handed Devendra Bishoo pulled Mishra straight into the hands of short mid wicket leaving Rampaul stranded on an unbeaten 14. Tea was taken with the fall of the last wicket with India grabbing a lead of 73 runs.
Tale of the Final Session :
West Indies bounced back quickly with the ball with Rampaul sending Murali Vijay back to the pavilion with a 2-ball duck! Vijay was extremely unlucky as he was lbw to a short delivery which shockingly stayed low to hit the backpad plumb infront of off in the 2nd over. His fellow opener Abhinav Mukund into his first Test was determined to showcase his ability. The left hander from Tamil Nadu weathered the storm with the solid Dravid to take away the fizz from the West Indian pace attack.
Just when he had done all the hard work, Abhinav Mukund lost his wicket after edging a cut shot off a quicker one from Devendra Bishoo in the 25th over. Mukund batted out 75 balls to score 25 which helped India to 56 for 2. The tall left hander played some handsome shots off the backfoot during his stay. By the next over, West Indies fought back again as VVS Laxman fell cheaply for the second time as well, this time dismissed for a 5-ball duck. It was a juicy delivery from Sammy and Laxman drove at it early and it was a sharp return catch taken to his left by the bowler.
India slipped to 57 for 3 but because of the first innings lead things didn’t appear that bad especially with Dravid controlling one end solidly. New man Virat Kohli brought some positive strokeplay along with him and along with Dravid saw the rest of the day’s play without any trouble. Kohli remained unbeaten on 14 from 42 balls with 2 fours. Dravid who was dropped early on by Sammy in the slips off Rampaul went onto score an unbeaten 45 from 125 balls with 5 fours which helped India to an overall lead of 164 runs.