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Plays of the Day from the first day of the Test between India and West Indies at the Kotla
November 7, 2011
The foot fault
It's a sight batsmen were increasingly used to for 20 years, looking back to see the stumps splayed and a West Indian slip cordon celebrating. It happened again before lunch at the Kotla, when Virender Sehwag was bowled, but jubilation was cut short by a no-ball call. It was marginal, but Fidel Edwards would have to wait to get his only wicket of the innings.
Sehwag had raced to a 36-ball 50, and there were few quickened pulses in the crowd initially when West Indies went up for a leg-side stumping. But Carlton Baugh had been watching Sehwag's back foot as he reached forward to Devendra Bishoo and he timed it perfectly. Too early or too late and the foot wouldn't have been airborne. On such moments do Tests turn.
R Ashwin had shown plenty of signs of batting ability in the one-day arena. On his Test debut, India needed him to help Rahul Dravid rebuild the innings. Baugh had other ideas though, moving smartly down the leg side to snaffle a glance - a difficult chance made to look simple.
Carelessness was the name of India's batting game on Monday. The one exception, apart from the unlucky Gautam Gambhir, was Sachin Tendulkar, beaten by a quick delivery that nipped back in. Edwards' exuberant celebration took him down the pitch and then all the way to square leg. Once he calmed down, there was no yellow card waiting though.
Darren Sammy's celebration after Dravid's dismissal belonged to a Broadway musical. With only Pragyan Ojha and Umesh Yadav for company, Dravid went for a rare extravagant pull after batting resolutely for more than two hours. The ball looped into Sammy's hands at square leg and he showed just how much the wicket mattered by launching himself into the air and performing three heel-clicks. Whatever else they may say about Sammy, he sure knows how to express himself on a cricket field.
With it being a public holiday for Eid, there was a healthy turnout and plenty of noise in the stands. There were two small contingents of West Indian fans, waving Trinidad & Tobago flags, their jubilation echoing around the Kotla at the fall of every Indian wicket. When Dhoni's off stump was knocked over, the cries of joy from two women in the old clubhouse silenced an entire stand of noisy Delhi-ites. One of the women was Mrs Richie Richardson, the former West Indies captain and current team manger. The pity was that the good numbers could have been larger but there was little opportunity for fans to come to the ground and buy tickets at the gate. If Test cricket is losing ground, it's not fan apathy that is to blame, but administrative confusion.
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