Clueless against the carrom ball
Three years ago, it was Virender Sehwag's 68-ball 83 that made a 387-run mountain look like a hillock in Chennai. With 276 needed here, Ravi Rampaul had the perfect opportunity to deflate the Indian balloon early. Statuesque footwork and a diffident stroke saw the ball come back at him, but though he got a hand to it, he couldn't hold on. Sehwag went on to add 43 more and by the time he left, another platform had been established for those who followed.
With Shivnarine Chanderpaul gone and the end in sight, Darren Sammy wasn't about to hold back. But even then, the first ball of Ishant Sharma's 13th over was something special. A jump down the pitch and the cleanest of strikes down to the sightscreen. Many a West Indian legend would have approved.
When people think of Chanderpaul, they usually think of that crab-like stance and adhesive qualities. But this is a man with a 69-ball Test hundred and his approach was clear as soon as he came to the crease. The first ball he faced was flashed down to third man and the second neatly guided through point - the tempo set for a rapid-fire 47 that may have a vital bearing on the result.
No time to leave
His pace and bustle weren't rewarded in the first innings, but Umesh Yadav didn't have to wait too long for his debut Test wicket. It came with a delivery that angled in at 140 km/hr. Kirk Edwards, who had shown real mettle during his 33, bizarrely decided to offer no stroke, turning back to see the off stump head in the direction of Delhi Gate.
Marlon Samuels didn't have a chance. The carrom ball was at least 10 km/hr quicker than R Ashwin's stock deliveries. Given that the ball turned away from the right-hander to uproot the off stump, it was hard not to think of a certain leggie whose topspinners flummoxed many a batsman in similar conditions. With his height, accuracy and thoughtful demeanour, the Kumble comparisons won't end any time soon.