Windies rout India out for 209
NEW DELHI, India, CMC/IANS – West Indies blew away India's much heralded batting line up for a modest 209 on the second day of their Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. Losing Kieran Powell and Kraigg Brathwaite in the closing stages eroded some of the gains West Indies made, after they claimed a 95-run first innings lead over India on another riveting day.
Powell fell for a duck and fellow rookie opener Brathwaite for two, as the Windies reached 21 for two in their second innings for an overall lead of 116, as17 wickets fell on the second day.
Kirk Edwards was not out on 15 and unrelated namesake and compatriot Fidel Edwards was not out on zero at the close, after West Indies put India on the backfoot, dismissing them for 209, in reply to the visitors’ first innings total of 304, about half-hour before the scheduled close.
Windies captain Darren Sammy was his side’s most successful bowler, grabbing three wickets for 35 runs from eight overs and sparking a revival for the visitors after Virender Sehwag hit the top score of 55 and Gautam Gambhir made 41 in a rollicking 89-run first wicket stand.
Sammy transformed the fortunes of his side when he ran Gambhir out, triggering an Indian collapse, as the hosts lost four wickets for 31 runs in the space of 66 balls before Rahul Dravid gathered 54 to cut the deficit.
Ravi Rampaul captured two for 44 from 14.5 overs and will be on a hat-trick when he starts to bowl in the second innings, and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo took two for 55 from 14 overs.
With 14 overs remaining in the day, the two rookie West Indies openers were confronted with India’s spin duo of Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin up front, as Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni rolled the dice immediately, handing them the new ball.
Sadly, Powell drowned in the clichéd syrup, paying for his impetuosity, driving Ashwin uppishly to be caught at extra cover in the second over.
Brathwaite was typically obdurate and hardly placed a foot wrong again until he came too far inside the line of an arm-ball from Ojha, tried to work it into the leg-side, missed and was adjudged lbw, leaving the two Edwards to navigate the remaining five balls.
Fidel survived a loud appeal for lbw to Ojha, when he played forward and was struck marginally outside the line of the off-stump, much to the disappointment of the Indians.
West Indies had left a crowd of around 3,000 disappointed, when they made the Indian batsmen pay dearly for their poor shot selection.
The West Indies new-ball pair of Fidel and Rampaul put Gambhir and Sehwag through a thorough examination, as India reached 39 without loss at lunch.
Fidel coughed up three boundaries to the edgy Gambhir in the first over, and suffered agony in his second over, when his namesake dropped Gambhir, on 17, at third slip.
There was more pain for Fidel in his third over, the final over before the interval, when he bowled Sehwag in spectacular fashion off a no-ball, rearranging the stumps behind the batsman.
After the interval, the West Indies attack appeared toothless until fortune favoured them, after Sehwag’s straight drive disturbed the stumps at the non-striker's end, kissing bowler Sammy’s fingers on the way with Gambhir out of his crease backing up.
This wicket energised West Indies, and a brilliant piece of work behind the stumps from wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh Jr ended Sehwag’s innings.
Bishoo drew Sehwag onto the front foot to play defensively and Baugh whipped off the bails as the batsman lost his balance and lifted his back foot for a fraction of second. The Indian opener struck nine fours in his 46-ball knock.
Fidel then silenced the crowd, which was looking forward to Sachin Tendulkar making his 100th international hundred, when he trapped the Indian batting superstar lbw plumb in front playing across a full-length delivery.
Four overs later, Bishoo had V.V.S. Laxman caught behind for one, when the batsman lazily played forward at a delivery that kept a shade low, leaving India 120 for four.
West Indies were put on their heels a bit though, when left-hander Yuvraj Singh roughed up Bishoo with two classy sixes, a lofted straight drive and a pull.
But Sammy came back strongly in a second spell, after enduring severe punishment from Sehwag, removing Yuvraj caught at cover essaying a half-hearted drive, and Dhoni bowled for a fourth-ball duck with a delivery that moved back sharply.
Sammy also had Ashwin brilliantly caught behind down the leg-side by Baugh, leaving India 154 for seven, before West Indies met defiance from Dravid and Ishant Sharma in a 49-run eighth wicket stand that took India over the 200-run threshold.
A single into mid-wicket off Marlon Samuels, bowling his off-spin darts, carried Dravid to his 50 from 96 balls and continued his fine form against West Indies this year, following India’s trip to the Caribbean last June/July.
Samuels made the breakthrough however, when he had Sharma dubiously caught behind for 17 before Rampaul had Dravid, whose innings contained three boundaries from 111 balls, caught at square leg and bowled Umesh Yadav with the next delivery to wrap things up.
Earlier, West Indies continued from their overnight 256 for five and were dismissed about 40 minutes before lunch, after losing their last five wickets for 48 runs.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the first day batting hero, was dismissed for 118 and Baugh fell for 27, but no other batsman passed 20.
Ojha ended with a career-best six for 72 from 34.2 overs and Ashwin finished with three for 81 from 27 overs.
This is West Indies’ first full tour of India for nine years and it will be their toughest under the captaincy of Sammy.