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Ind vs WI 2nd Test: Laxman, Darvid put India in command


first_imgSenior pros VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid struck half centuries as India ended the fourth day’s play at 229 for three in the second Test match against the West Indies being played at the Kensington Oval thereby extending their overall lead to 240 runs. Score | PhotosAt stumps, Laxman (72 batting, 171 balls, 6×4) having scored his second 50 of the match was batting in company of Virat Kohli (26 batting, 98 balls, 1×4, 1×6) having added 75 runs for the undefeated fourth wicket partnership. Dravid scored a slow 55 (171 balls, 3×4) while Abhinav Mukund (48, 6×4) was unlucky to miss out on his maiden Test half century.However almost all the Indian batsmen employed a sedate approach as the visitors could only manage 206 runs in a whole day’s play that saw 83.2 overs being sent down by the Caribbean bowlers.It will be interesting to find out as to when Mahendra Singh Dhoni decides to declare so that he can give his bowlers enough chance to take 10 wickets.India are 1-0 up in the series having clinched the first Test in Jamaica by 63 runs last week.Dravid and Laxman themselves put on 65 runs for the fourth wicket but it was their presence that helped two young Indian batsmen to play confidently.Both Mukund and Kohli played their first substantial innings of the tour as India produced 62, 65 and 75 runs for second, third and fourth wickets respectively.The day began ominously for the Indians who once again lost opener Murali Vijay (3) early as he edged a Ravi Rampaul delivery behind the stumps.advertisementVijay now has scores of 8,0, 11 and 3 from the series and would be very lucky if he manages to retain his berth in the final Test in Dominica (July 6-10). In fact it seems that he has blown away the chance to make it to the squad for England.India didn’t find the going particularly good thereafter though Mukund grew in assurance with every passing minute in the middle.Most of the concerns, strangely, revolved around Dravid who unusually struggled on a bouncy pitch and lived dangerously.He was also at the centre of an umpiring controversy when he flicked Darren Sammy to midwicket region and fielder Adrian Barath made a tumbling scoop to claim a catch.Several replays and after a five-minute hold up, the claim was rejected and Dravid, then on 10, could continue his innings. It was the 17th over of the innings, the 12th of the morning session with the visitors’ score reading 47 for 1.Even after the two umpires, Ian Gould and Asad Rauf, had resumed their positions, and the fielders and bowlers were back in their place, the third umpire Gregory Brathwaite kept lingering over the decision before ruling it in batsman’s favour.Mukund and Dravid then held steadfast to guide India to 62 for 1 from the session which duly lost an hour due to rain as has been the norm in this Test.The elegance of young Mukund was much in evidence as he always got behind the line of the delivery and played a few pleasing strokes down the ground. But for one occasion when a Fidel Edwards bouncer hit him on the helmet, the left-hander was usually in control. Mukund’s one stroke, a glorious cover drive off Darren Sammy, stood out from the morning session’s play.The southpaw fell after lunch, just two runs shy of his maiden half century, when he rose on his heels to an Edwards bouncer which still took his gloves on way to the wicketkeeper.Mukund batted for 153 minutes and hit six fours from the 81 balls he faced. He was a picture of dejection as he walked back to pavilion.Dravid now had his long-stand partner Laxman at the other end who withstood all that West Indies could muster from its four-pronged attack. Both took India to tea without any further loss at 143 for 2.Dravid fell in an uncharacteristic manner post-tea when he slashed at a rising delivery from Edwards and was puched by Ramnaresh Sarwan at first slip.The veteran batsmen batted for 221 minutes, faced 171 balls and hit three fours, two of which were steers past the slip cordon.Dravid’s departure brought the sparse crowd on its feet as they anticipated Edwards to make short work of Virat Kohli once again.The fielders began crouching around the bat and Kohli once nearly played into the hands of forward short leg as well but West Indies didn’t get the breakthrough they were looking.Kohli held firm even as runs were not coming and opened his score in pulled six off Edwards?even though it took 22 balls in coming.advertisementLaxman batted without a worry at the other end, going past Sir Garfield Sobers’ run aggregate of 8032 runs on the home ground of the most talented all-round cricketer the world has ever seen. Laxman was unfazed by anything the West Indies could throw at him, hooking Edwards in front of square leg for a boundary and then essaying a classic on-drive off Darren Sammy which gathered pace and hit the pickets despite a heavy outfield.A hapless West Indian team decided against taking the second new ball as both its premier fast bowlers, Edwards and Rampaul, were exhausted by a long day’s exertions.Rain did intervene during the day but not in the manner it had on two previous days. An hour was lopped off due to rain in the morning and then the middle session could begin after a 10-minute delay.- With inputs from PTIlast_img read more