Edwards stands tall as India face stiff resistance

Edwards stands tall as India face stiff resistance

Determined WI thwart visitors charge

Edwards stands tall as India face stiff resistance

Mahendra Singh Dhoni in an aggressive mood during his 74 in the final Test against the West Indies. AFPWhen VVS Laxman departed in a bizarre manner on the third day, India were wobbling at 172 for five, and there was massive responsibility on the shoulders of Dhoni and Suresh Raina, the last recognised Indian pair. Their impeccable effort was the rock upon which India built a substantial first innings lead of 143 runs on the fourth day of the third Test at the Windsor Park stadium on Saturday.

Resuming at 308 for six, India were bowled out for 347, and West Indies reached 116 for three by tea, still 27 runs behind India. Indian new-ball bowlers, Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar, rattled the West Indian top order with a lively spell to winkle out openers Adrian Barath and Kieran Powell, and the dismissal of Darren Bravo in the post-lunch session further pegged the West Indies back. The hosts made a slight recovery when Shivnarine Chanderpaul and debutant Kirk Edwards, who made a fine fifty, added 76 runs for the fourth-wicket.

Before Indian bowlers made the inroads, Dhoni started from where he left on Friday. The Indian skipper judged the conditions to perfection, avoiding big hits to concentrate more on singles and doubles. It’s been a feature of Dhoni’s batting of late, resorting to meaty blows only when the situation demands while using a more pragmatic willow on other times. A few bad shots and a couple of umpiring howlers have limited the effect of Dhoni the batsman in this series.

He put behind the past miseries to complete the job at hand. A master runner between the wickets, Dhoni converted ones into twos with ease as the Windies wilted under gradual pressure. The runs were coming quite fluently even without big hits, and the absence of Ravi Rampaul, who now can bowl only on Sunday due to his prolonged absence fron the field, made matters worse for the hosts.

However, a good chunk of credit should go to the West Indian trio of Fidel Edwards, Darren Sammy and Devendra Bishoo for bowling long spells in trying circumstances, often making the Indian batsmen work for their runs.

Dhoni and Raina were India’s willing workhorses. Both the batsmen are capable of dishing out flair efforts, but they kept in check their aggressive intents for a better part of their sixth-wicket association, milking 103 runs that could have a decisive impact on the game, weather permitting.

Raina has been in fine touch throughout this series, and it’s a tad unfortunate that the left-hander doesn’t have a three-digit score to show for his feisty outings. En route to his third fifty of the series, Raina displayed all the qualities that made him a dependable figure down the order.

He was patient, never flinched against short-pitched balls, which were on offer aplenty from Edwards, and was assured against the ripping turn of leg-spinner Bishoo. Just when he seemed to have settled down nicely, Edwards trapped him in front of the wicket, but by then the southpaw has done his job of taking India to safe shores.

The visitors started the fourth day with the hopes of further expanding their lead, and it was a realistic line of thinking considering the presence of Dhoni. But Edwards completed a five-wicket haul, his 10th in Tests, to run through the Indian late order. Unfortunately, the West Indian batsmen couldn’t reciprocate in a suitable manner.

SCORE BOARD

WEST INDIES (I Innings): 204 all out

INDIA (I Innings):

Mukund c Barath b Bishoo    62
(184m, 149, 5x4)
Vijay c Baugh b Edwards    5
(18m, 10b, 1x4)
Dravid b Sammy    5
(12m, 5b)
Laxman st Baugh b C’paul    56
(181m, 129b, 3x4)
Kohli c Baugh b Sammy    30
(72m, 53b, 2x4)
Raina lbw Edwards    50
(141m, 103b, 3x4)
Dhoni c Bishoo b Edwards    74
(172m, 133b, 4x4)
Harbhajan c Baugh b Edwards    12
(42m, 35b, 1x4)
Praveen c Samuels b Bishoo    23
(38m, 27b, 1x6, 2x4)
Ishant c Barath b Edwards    2
(12m, 5b)
Munaf (not out)    4
(8m, 5b, 1x4)
Extras (B-8, LB-3, W-3, NB-10)    24
Total (all out, 108.2 overs)    347
Fall of wickets: 1-13 (Vijay), 2-18 (Dravid), 3-116 (Mukund), 4-168 (Kohli), 5-172 (Laxman), 6-275 (Raina), 7-308 (Harbhajan), 8-339 (Dhoni), 9-343 (Praveen).
Bowling: Edwards 28.2-3-103-5 (w-1, nb-2), Sammy 28-7-51-2, Bishoo 38-2-125-2 (nb-6), Kirk Edwards 4-0-19-0 (w-1, nb-2), Chanderpaul 10-0-38-1.

WEST INDIES (II Innings):

Barath c Kohli b Praveen    6
(31m, 21b)
Powell c Raina b Ishant    4
(25m, 15b)
K Edwards (batting)    62
(152m, 123b, 5x4)
Bravo c Praveen b Harbhajan    14
(48m, 40b, 2x4)
Chanderpaul (batting)    25
(116m, 96b)
Extras (B-4, NB-1)    5
Total (for 3 wkts, 49 overs)    116
Fall of wicket: 1-8 (Powell), 2-10 (Barath), 3-40 (Bravo).
Bowling: Praveen 9-4-12-1, Ishant 11-3-24-1, Munaf 9-1-41-0 (nb-1), Harbhajan 15-4-25-1, Raina 5-1-10-0.
 

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