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Thursday, November 10, 2011

India-Windies tests - India wake-up after Windies shock

The Indian team recovered from a rude wake-up call given by a young West Indies team in the first innings of the Kotla match. After giving away a 95 run lead, the Indian team then dismissed their opponents quickly to notch up an easy-looking win. The match was made interesting by the rusty nature of the Indian batsmen in their first innings. If not, the match would have been more one-sided than it was.

The spin department shows promise with two young spinners grabbing a bunch of wickets - will they continue to perform is a question on everyone's minds. If they continue this performance for the next 2 matches, Harbhajan Singh might be wondering about his ticket to Australia. It obviously did not help that Bhajji could not get any wickets in the Ranji match he played! Pragyan Ojha's county stint has helped him become a better bowler and one can only wonder what the impact would have been if he had played an entire season.

Ashwin's debut was much awaited and he has performed in the way everyone thought he would - one good aspect of his bowling was the sparing use of his carrom ball. Unlike Ajantha Mendis who has gone out of contention because of the batsmen's ability to read his variations better, the tall off-spinner will do well in the future because of his perseverence and accuracy. Umesh Yadav, on the other hand, could not perform so well as his fellow debutant partly because of the surface and also because of his nerves. His performance in the second innings improved but against stronger opposition, one wonders how he will perform. Ishant Sharma needs another couple of test matches to come to his best form which will work out for the tests Down Under.

Most of the batsmen made starts but could not get going in the first innings. Gambhir and Sehwag started their innings as though they were still playing a IPL match - it looked good while it lasted but obviously the focus should be on a longer stint than the one they have. Sehwag has promised 2 centuries in the series - two fifties in this test match is just the teaser that has increased our expectations. Laxman and Tendulkar carried the team near the target in the second innings by their steady progress while Rahul Dravid waged a lone battle in the first innings when everyone else failed around him. Yuvraj Singh failed in both his innings but the think-tank will give him enough chances in this series to test his form further. One wonders why MSD fails in this format when his form in the ODIs has been outstanding - would be a good idea to play his ODI game in test matches also. His captaincy has been on the spot, a perfect example was the decision to have his spinners open the bowling in the 2nd innings - not wasting time with the pace bowlers and the new ball.

Overall, the scoreline looks 3-0 at the end of the test series - only a drop in the Indian performance will result in any other result. They have been woken up by the Windies in this test match, which means that the subsequent tests will see them back to their best.

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