Fighting India restrict Windies

Fighting India restrict Windies

In the first game, they looked rusty and lacking in self-belief, but on this day they had transformed themsleves into a unit full of zest and confidence, at least in the initial part of the second one-dayer.

Their total of 240 for nine reflected their change in mindset and their openers — Lendl Simmons and Kirk Edwards —  led the way with a confident partnership. With Ramnaresh Sarwan weighing in with a half-century, the home team were able to put up a competitive total despite a slump in the latter part of the innings.

Two days back, the West Indian openers were so unsure of their footwork and struggled to pick the away-going deliveries of Praveen Kumar. But on Wednesday, there were no indecisive movements or nervous prods as well-timed taps and occasional flourish helped them to push the score ahead with ease.

The Indian new-ball bowlers, facing a confident approach from the West Indian openers, didn’t have the right replies all the time. Sensing the ineffectiveness of his quick bowlers, Indian skipper Suresh Raina brought in the spinners. More than once, West Indian skipper Darren Sammy has stressed the need to tackle the spinners and farm the strike to be successful against India.

However, the batsmen had not able to execute his thoughts on the field, meekly succumbing to the guile of the bowlers. But on a day when sun played hide and seek with the clouds, they handled the spinners better in the first part of their innings before crashing to the leg-spin of Amit Mishra.

Simmons and Edwards added 57 for the opening wicket, indicating a strong West Indian surge, and the Queens Park Cricket Club pitch too showed a welcome change of nature, from slow and low to one with decent carry and bounce. But Mishra snapped the alliance, jettisoning Edwards. The ball was a little gem, turning sharply to take the edge en route to Parthiv Patel behind the stumps. The dismissal opened the door to two of the best phases in this West Indian innings, the 67-run second-wicket alliance between Simmons and Sarwan, and a 51-run fourth-wicket alliance between Sarwan and Marlon Samuels.
The Sarwan-Simmons alliance was a more sedate affair with both the batsmen trying to negate the spinners, and establishing a base for the subsequent batsmen to have a go at the Indian bowlers. The West Indian pair was fluent without being exceptional as the home side motored away nicely before Simmons was done in by a slower ball from Yusuf Pathan, giving Parthiv a chance for an easy stumping.

But with Sarwan and Samuels kicking on, the hosts didn’t lose any momentum. Their alliance was in total contrast against the earlier one, aggressive and full of intent. Sarwan is an elegant stroke-player with brilliant footwork, and he used that gift to telling effect on the day to nullify the effect of spinners and pacers alike.

On the other hand, Samuels was ultra-aggressive, looking to score at every chance. The desperation was understandable as Samuels was making a comeback, but his brazenness paved the way for his end as well, getting stumped off Yusuf. The separation of Sarwan and Samuels was the foothold India needed at that time, and they cashed in on it brilliantly.

Mishra bamboozled the West Indian middle and lower order with some accurate leg-spin to walk away with a four-wicket haul (4-31), his best effort in one-dayers so far. The Delhi man’s effort also meant that India didn’t have to chase a total in the vicinity of 260 as that could have been a tad too much for this young side.

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