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    June 07, 2006

    A match that one team lost

    At the end of days one and two at Antigua, Brian Lara would have been the happier captain, despite allowing India's tailenders to steal a few runs. On days three and four, Rahul Dravid would have been in the happier state of mind, especially since Lara'd blown his top arguing about Dhoni's "dismissal".

    When the final ball was bowled in the test, Rahul Dravid would be thinking about whether the draw was a fair result, given that India pretty much held the upper hand for the final three days of the game. Dhoni's hitting and Wasim Jaffer's double century, the first double century by an Indian in the second innings *since VVS Laxman's 281, had put India in a situation where there were only two results possible - India winning and a drawn test.

    In this context, it is perhaps worth wondering about if those 5-10 minutes wasted, when everyone was arguing about whether Dhoni was caught or if it was a six, turned out to be a key factor towards the result of the test match. Add in Yuvraj's and Kaif's strange batting display in the first 30-40 balls of their innings and maybe India could have had more overs to bowl to West Indies.

    At the same time, West Indies will wonder about if the game got away from them at the half-way stage. I was in fact resigned to possibly an innings defeat when West Indies' tailenders were batting with ease. Given the brittleness of the Indian batting, especially in tests, as displayed in the first innings at Antigua as well as at Karachi and at Mumbai, being all out for less than 130 wasn't totally an unrealistic scenario. Losing out on Fidel Edwards was a huge blow, but I think Lara's mistake was in the first innings, when India shouldn't have made even 200.

    Despite the one-day series result being one-sided and some bizarre selection, India will head to the second test at St. Lucia in the better frame of mind.

    For starters, VRV Singh's inexperience means that Irfan Pathan will be back. The need to go 1-0 up as soon as possible could also mean that Harbhajan will be included instead of Kaif. St. Lucia has hosted two tests, against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Both were high-scoring draws. I don't know if the pitch has changed significantly since. Unless the wicket has been relaid, it makes even more sense to go into the game with five specialist bowlers and back the batsmen to get the runs, especially since just about everyone got a few runs at Antigua.

    West Indies have three problems - Lara won't have Fidel Edwards for the next test, his middle and lower order collapsed as West Indies lost six wickets in the last session and he doesn't trust his spin bowler. Dave Mohammed bowled 37 overs in the game. Dwayne Bravo bowled 48 overs while Gayle bowled 26 overs. Should he include a spinner for the second test, just to have more options? Maybe Dave Mohammed should be picked for his batting, given the way he batted yesterday!

    If you, like me, didn't see the game live till the end, you can follow the excitement through the ball-by-ball commentary archive on Cricinfo's scorecard.

    *Other second innings double centurions - Dilip Sardesai against New Zealand, MAK Pataudi against England, Sunil Gavaskar [twice] against West Indies and against England.

    The last batsman to score a double century in the second innings before Wasim Jaffer was Brad Hodge against South Africa.

    Ganesh speculated if this was India's highest ever second innings total while on tour, a fact confirmed by Cricinfo.
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 11:42 AM |
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    1 sledge(s):

    It was infact a great match. I do write sometimes about cricket in my blog @ www.sonyvellayani.blogspot.com

    By Blogger Brijesh (08-Jun-2006, 12:03:00 PM)  


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