Dravid keeps Indians on top

Dravid keeps Indians on top

Cricket First Test: Right-hander slams unbeaten century as visitors build an overall lead of 295

Dravid keeps Indians on top

It’s an appropriate description of his single-minded concentration and unflappable temperament. The 38-year old scored his 32nd Test hundred that displayed those qualities in full measure to propel India into a position of strength on the third of the opening Test at the Sabina Park here on Wednesday.

Indian bowlers led by Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar did an excellent job on a bouncy pitch to restrict the West Indies to 173, gifting India a handy first innings lead of 73 runs. India reached 222 for eight after 87 overs in their second innings for an overall lead of 295, a direct result of Dravid’s composed hundred.

Securing the lead was no reflection of total Indian dominance, and the visitors required a big effort to surge ahead once Ravi Rampaul trapped Murali Vijay in only the second ball of India’s second innings.

There is no better batsmen in world cricket than Dravid to grind the opposition down and the Bangalorean slipped into his familiar role, stitching together 56 runs for the second wicket with debutant Abhinav Mukund. The Tamil Nadu left-hander looked ill at ease in the first innings, hopping around the crease, but he was much more settled in the company of Dravid this time. The two India Cements players dominated the West Indian bowlers in a serene way, exhibiting precise footwork and patience to wait for the loose balls to free their arms.

However, Mukund lost his cool for a moment against Devendra Bishoo, and he had to pay a heavy price, snicking a straighter one to Carlton Baugh behind the stumps. Darren Sammy held onto a fine return catch to jettison VVS Laxman as India suddenly slipped to 57 for three. Virat Kohli helped Dravid to add a further 43 runs to the total, but the fourth-wicket stand was more notable for Kohli’s discomfort against Fidel Edwards.

The Delhi lad came with the huge reputation of being the future flag-bearer of Indian cricket, but he couldn’t justify the tag in both the innings at the Sabina Park. On more than one occasion, Edwards caught Kohli in awkward positions, and he could have easily been dismissed in the last over of the second day.

Edwards mustered the last ounce of energy after a hot and tiresome day to bowl a ferociously quick over in which he clocked over 90 mph with ease, and Kohli survived the heavy artillery shelling with great difficulty. The West Indian quick, playing a Test match after a gap of two years, didn’t drop the intensity in the third morning as well.

The Delhiite could not save his stay at the crease for long as another short delivery made contact with his gloves before nestling in the big hands of stumper Baugh. Kohli’s dismissal ushered in the most assured passage of play in Indian innings, a fifth-wicket alliance between Dravid and Raina worth 48 runs.

Raina, who made a precious 82 in the first innings, was rock solid without compromising on the needs to score runs, also providing excellent support to Dravid. During his stay, the Uttar Pradesh left-hander, perhaps, emphatically asserted that he can no more be intimidated by short-pitched deliveries.

It was a tad unfortunate that he was given out to Bishoo while attempting a sweep and the ball seemed to have made no contact with either bat or gloves. The dismissal of MS Dhoni in the last ball before lunch seemed to have given Windies the momentum, but Dravid ensured that India speed ahead.

Score Board

INDIA (I Innings): 246 all out
WEST INDIES (I Innings):
Barath c Dhoni b Praveen    64
(122b, 9x4)
Simmons c Vijay b Ishant    3
Sarwan lbw Ishant    3
Bravo c Dhoni b Praveen    18
(56b, 2x4)
C’derpaul c Mukund b H’bhajan    23
(74b, 2x4)
Nash c Raina b Praveen    1
Baugh c Vijay b Harbhajan    27
(35b, 2x4, 1x6)
Sammy b Ishant    1
Rampaul (not out)    14
(19b, 2x4)
Edwards c Dhoni b Mishra    7
(28b, 1x4)
Bishoo c Raina b Mishra    4
(2b, 1x4)
Extras (B-1, LB-3, NB-4)    8
Total (all out, 67.5 overs)    173
Fall of wickets: 1-18 (Simmons), 2-35 (Sarwan), 3-91 (Barath), 4-95 (Bravo), 5-102 (Nash), 6-147 (Baugh), 7-148 (Sammy), 8-152 (Chanderpaul), 9-169 (Edwards)
Bowling: Praveen 18-5-38-3, Ishant 17-6-29-3, Amit 13.5-1-51-2 (nb-4), Harbhajan 19-5-51-2.
INDIA (II Innings):
Vijay lbw Rampaul    0
Mukund c Baugh b Bishoo    25
(75b, 3x4)
Dravid (batting)    100
(252b, 10x4)
Laxman c&b Sammy    0
Kohli c Baugh Edwards    15
(54b, 2x4)
Raina c Sammy b Bishoo    27
(53b, 3x4)
Dhoni c Edwards b Bishoo    16
(16b, 1x4, 1x6)
Harbhajan lbw Sammy    5
Praveen b Sammy    0
Mishra (batting)    17
(40b, 2x4)
Extras (B-8, LB-1, NB-8)    17
Total (for 8 wkts, 87 overs)    222
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Vijay), 2-56 (Mukund), 3-57 (Laxman), 4-100 (Kohli), 5-148 (Raina), 6-166 (Dhoni), 7-183 (Harbhajan), 8-183 (Praveen).
Bowling: Edwards 20-1-70-1 (nb-6), Rampaul 20-3-40-1, Sammy 24-10-40-3, Bishoo 22-2-57-3 (nb-2), Nash 1-0-6-0.

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