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Sunday, July 03, 2011

WI-India 2nd test - Laxman and Ishant nearly make it 2-0

Ishant Sharma with the ball and VVS Laxman with the bat almost got the win for India that would have enabled them to go up 2-0 in the test series. Bad light and rain had made the most impact on the match and they ensured that they will have the final say on the fate of the match.

Ishant Sharma had shown glimpses of form in the first test match - here, he took it a notch higher. It was very satisfying for the Indian fan to see him pinging the opposition batsmen on the helmet and then troubling them with his swing/seam. He was the leader of the pack and he came to the party whenever his captain asked for a breakthrough.

VVS Laxman, just like Rahul Dravid in the first test, held the Indian innings together after early inroads were made by the Windies pacemen. The short ball has never been a problem for the tall batsman - here also, he pulled out his horizontal bat whenever required to keep the bowlers at bay. Raina in the first and Abhinav Mukund / Rahul Dravid in the second innings gave him good company. He missed a century in both his innings but he would have been the happiest if India had gone on to win the match.

Mukund learnt from his own as well as the rival batsmen on how to survive and play on such wickets. His gritty performance meant that he was selected to continue in the Indian team for the England sojourn also. Suresh Raina continued to impress everyone with his gutsy performances - weaving and pulling whenever the ball was pitched short. He seems to have reclaimed his spot in the batting order during this series with the help of such timely knocks.

Harbhajan Singh again continued to disappoint - a bowler of nearly 400 wickets has struggled to pick up wickets once again. His friendship with the captain will be under strain now, because of such lackluster performances. It is time to look at Pragyan Ojha for the next test match.

MS Dhoni was involved in two incidents that could have made a difference to the verdict - one was his dismissal in the first innings of a no-ball (even though the TV umpire was involved, the wrong decision was given) while the other was the dropped catch by him of the wicket-keeper Baugh (Baugh and Bravo held the fort for Windies on the last day to ensure that the match would not be lost). Though it must be argued that, because of Dhoni's decision, the match came to life on the last-day after the declaration. One can say it was brave but obviously the form of Windies batsmen must have made it easy for MSD.

The last test match with India 1-0 up in the series. Will they make it 2-0 in Dominica?
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