India v West Indies, 2nd Test, Kolkata November 13, 2011

Another spin test for West Indies

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Match facts

Monday, November 14
Start time 0900 (0330 GMT)

Big Picture

Delhi was a perfect summation of why West Indies weren't expected to add to India's tally of two home losses in six years. It was the third instance this year of West Indies losing a Test despite keeping the opposition to under 300 in their first innings. To put it in perspective, India have taken nine years to lose three Tests after dismissing sides for under 300. West Indies aren't a team incapable of surprising India, but Test matches aren't won on surprise alone.

In the first Tests of both series between these sides, West Indies have managed to shock India, reducing them to 85 for 6 on the first morning at Sabina Park, and then bowling them out for 209 on a benign Kotla track. West Indies lost both games. It is a credit to Darren Sammy and his men that despite all the constraints they face, they have reached positions from where they can win matches, but they need to find a way to convert these opportunities.

There's already a feeling that West Indies' chance in this series might have come and gone. In Delhi half the Indian side was just coming back to high-level cricket. India hadn't won any of their last six Tests. It was the best time to strike, but West Indies couldn't land the knock-out blow. It is hard to see India slipping up again.

Form guide

(Most recent first)
India WLLLL
West Indies LWDDD

Watch out for…

The turnout at Eden. This has been a strange home season. For the first time in what seems like forever, ODIs involving India in India were watched by half-empty stands. Then came the similar lukewarm response to the Kotla Test, which wasn't surprising, because you don't need research analysts to know that there are five venues in India that draw crowds for Tests: Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kanpur and Kolkata. Brace yourself for the shock now: two days before the Test, Kolkata's Telegraph reported that only 324 tickets had been sold at ticket counters until then. Here's hoping that the legendary Eden Gardens lives up to its reputation, and doesn't reject this Test like it did the ODI against England.


West Indies against spin. Sammy was honest with his appraisal of his side in the first Test. "As long as I've known, spin has been our problem," he said. "Losing 15 wickets for 220 odd runs ... As soon as the spinners settled, we went into a shell. Maybe we could bat a bit more positively, like Shiv[narine Chanderpaul] showed us … We need to find a way to score against spin and not let them get us out … Most of the time, we have been out lbw, playing with our pad instead of the bat."

At Kotla, Indian spinners bowled 101 overs for 240 runs and 16 wickets, seven of which were lbw and none a bat-pad catch. West Indies know where they have been wrong. Now might be a good time to correct it. A start could be to split the inexperienced top three by promoting Marlon Samuels, who could do with a change of scenery, a start against the hard ball and fast bowling.

Pitch and conditions

Like Kotla, Eden Gardens has been a sluggish pitch of late. In fact MS Dhoni criticised the track after the Twenty20I against England. An ugly wicket, he called it. The curator now promises even bounce, some lateral movement, and a track which isn't a rank turner.

Light fades fast in eastern parts of India, and accordingly the Test will start at 9am as opposed to 9.30am in other centres. Still it has been observed in the past that half an hour is not correction enough, and we could have trouble squeezing in the extra half hours to make up for poor over-rates. No rain is forecast over the next five days.

Team news

India are likely to retain the XI from Kotla unless the pitch is a raging turner or if there is any injury in the nets on the eve of the game.


India (probable) 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Rahul Dravid, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 VVS Laxman, 6 Yuvraj Singh, 7 MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Ishant Sharma, 10 Pragyan Ojha, 11 Umesh Yadav

Adrian Barath should replace Kieran Powell as the opener. Samuels should get another chance despite twin failures, although it will be interesting to see where he bats. The choice between Ravi Rampaul and Kemar Roach remains an interesting one, but could be easily settled if Ravi Rampaul does recover from a stomach ailment in time for Monday's start. Sammy has hinted at two spinners, which mean Shane Shillingford could play.

West Indies (probable) 1 Adrian Barath, 2 Kraigg Brathwaite, 3 Kirk Edwards, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Marlon Samuels, 7 Darren Sammy (capt.), 8 Carlton Baugh (wk), 9 Ravi Rampaul/Kemar Roach/Shane Shillingford, 10 Fidel Edwards, 11 Devendra Bishoo

Stats and trivia

  • The anxiety among the nation is palpable, but Sachin Tendulkar has gone only five Tests and four ODIs without a hundred.

  • If West Indies don't win one of the next two Tests, they will have spent a decade since they last beat India, in Jamaica in May 2002. They have won at least one Test against all other teams bar New Zealand since 2002.

  • This will be Fidel Edwards' 50th Test. No West Indies fast bowler since Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh has reached 50 Tests. Eleven West Indies bowlers have taken more wickets than Edwards' 151.

Quotes

"Despite the result, we did basically control the first two days of the first Test. It took a lot of experience from that Indian batting line-up and, maybe, had we batted better in the second innings it would have been a different ball game."
West Indies captain Darren Sammy says his side showed fight in Delhi

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark00 on November 14, 2011, 4:38 GMT

    Players like Sehwag, who play the bouncer with their helmets, have benefited unduly from the bouncer restrictions. Now that everyone has helmets, time to get rid of the bouncer restrictions. This is the only way rescue fast-bowling and restore it to the thrilling sight it used to be. Bradman faced body-line without bouncer restrictions and no helmet. It's time to put the "test" back in test cricket.

  • dummy4fb on November 14, 2011, 2:53 GMT

    Sachin is thinking too much about 100th 100. He is playing for his runs and becoz of this he didnot make his 100 and he will

  • Eejalab on November 14, 2011, 2:48 GMT

    This Indian bating line up wont surrender time and again., so if WI wanna put up some fight., play a proper offie..! Shillingford looks best bet., Rampaul can trouble Indians and so he must be retained..!!

    Barath, Brathwaite, Kirk Edwards, Bravo, Chanders, Baugh (wk), Sammy (all-rounder), Bishoo, Shillingford, Fidel Edwards, Rampaul should be squad for 2nd test....

    Remember to win matches abroad., oly bowlers can do it and playing 5 best bowlers is WI's best bet...!!!!

    Lets have another awesome day of test cricket...!!!!

  • Aashish_goyal on November 14, 2011, 2:47 GMT

    I dont understand the criteria of people about Harbhajan..He is among the top bowlers India has ever produced,At present he is the ONLY player who is in top ten allrounder's list in ICC ranking for tests.@ Antriksh check the stats who is better bowler against Australia.

  • posybeon123 on November 14, 2011, 1:04 GMT

    i think that ashwin should permanently replace bhajji. idk about aron and yadav cuz when zak comes, they wont have a good chance on indian slow pitches. my XI .......... i dont know about yuvi. gambir, sewag, dravid, sachin,laxman, virat, dhoni, sharma, yadav, ashwin, and ojha. they shud give a chance to virat because first of all yuvi is not in test form and if virat does good, the selectors have a view of who to choose for the australia tour

  • posybeon123 on November 14, 2011, 0:11 GMT

    i think that ashwin should permanently replace bhajji idk about aron and yadav cuz when zak comes, they wont have a good chance on indian slow pitches my XI .......... i dont know about yuvi gambir, sewag, dravid, sachin,laxman, virat, dhoni, sharma, yadav, ashwin, and ojha they shud give a chance to virat because first of all yuvi is not in test form and if virat does good, the selectors have a view of who to choose for the australia tour

  • dummy4fb on November 14, 2011, 0:04 GMT

    It is Kumble who did well in Aus NOT Harbhajan.Indian fans take note.

  • Baundele on November 13, 2011, 22:33 GMT

    On Kolkata pitch this WI line up is no match for India. I predict an easy win. Chris Gayle could be handy as a bowler in this pitch.

  • dummy4fb on November 13, 2011, 21:51 GMT

    @kirangupta - you can choose this team in ur fantasy team. Current team look well settled. With good bench strength, like Aron, Praveen Kumar and when Zaheer returns pace battery will be even stronger.

  • kirangupta on November 13, 2011, 20:15 GMT

    With Australia in mind the Indian squad for tests should be as follows: Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Vijay, Dinesh Karthik, Harbhajan, Ishant, 2 for team out of Ashwin, Ojha, Aaron. Then remainder of squad, Pujara, Yadav, Kohli. Yuvraj cannot bat bowl or field! Dhoni can't bat or field!

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