India v West Indies, 2nd Test, Kolkata, 1st day

Gibson pleased with bowling effort on flat pitch

S Aga

November 14, 2011

Comments: 23 | Text size: A | A

"Loose balls are the best balls sometimes," Ottis Gibson, the West Indies coach, said with a laugh after a day when his team's bowling was severely tested on a benign pitch and four of the five wickets to fall were gifted by the batsmen. Led by a Rahul Dravid century, India dominated the day's play before two wickets in four balls gave the visitors some hope of making significant inroads with the second new ball on Tuesday morning.

"It's always tough to play on this track at Eden Gardens," Gibson said. "History says that you usually go at an economy-rate of three an over. We are going at 3.8 an over [actually 3.95] and hopefully we can drag it down tomorrow. Our guys toiled hard. We knew it was always going to be difficult to bowl to [Virender] Sehwag early on. I'd give credit to all the guys for being at it the whole day and getting five wickets."

West Indies knew the enormity of the task in front of them within minutes of play starting, with back-of-length deliveries barely rising as high as the batsman's ribcage. There was a hint of resignation in Gibson's voice when he spoke about the conditions. "It's obviously disappointing but that has been the nature of subcontinent wickets over the years. This one hasn't spun a great deal yet. We spoke about it. Credit to Kemar Roach for coming back, bowling three very good spells and getting a wicket late in the day. Hopefully he can build on that tomorrow."

Roach was included after Ravi Rampaul fell ill on the eve of the game. Offspinner Shane Shillingford, Gibson said, was overlooked given India's level of comfort with the turning ball. "It was a tough decision. You look at the pitch and feel may be you can play two spinners. But you look at historical evidence too. Indians grew up playing spin. The extra pace of Kemar could help and it worked out quite well for us."

The biggest obstacle was Dravid, whose 119 was his sixth century in the last 12 months. "He is a class batsman and has been that way for the best part of twenty years. He has been in great form this year. I saw a statistic flash on television that he has the most [Test] runs by any batsman this year.

"With his appetite, I am sure he will score runs in Australia as well. It was obviously good to take his wicket; that lifted everyone. It's good that we don't have to see Dravid walk out tomorrow and take guard again."

That wicket also justified Darren Sammy's decision to delay the taking of the second new ball. But on a slow surface that has largely negated the potency of the pace attack, West Indian hopes of an upset victory will depend on the performance of Devendra Bishoo. At times on the opening day, that expectation appeared to weigh him down.

"It's something we have spoken about," Gibson said. "Young Bishoo has been our main spinner for ten months now and done well for us. You also have to take into account that he has been bowling to India, who are strong players of spin. Even Shane Warne didn't find it easy here. There have been times when Bishoo hasn't been able to string together as many good balls as he'd like."

Gibson remained confident that West Indies could rattle India's cage in this game, citing the batting collapse in the first innings in Delhi.

This, though, is a different sort of slow pitch, and India spinners, especially the absent Harbhajan Singh, have exploited its vagaries in the past. How West Indies fare will depend entirely on whether they can negotiate R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha better than they managed to in the opening Test.

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Posted by WICric101 on (November 15, 2011, 12:18 GMT)

gibson is ridiculos to say better use roach than shillingerford on a turning wkt cause india comfortable with spin,our pace more effective, yet with our pace we still keep losing

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (November 15, 2011, 9:12 GMT)

@Caveman 2001 is one Test in how many? Of course there will be exceptions to the rule but I'm talking about preparing pitches where interesting exciting cricket is the rule not the exception. I'm talking about pitches where bowlers work for their wickets and and batsmen work for their runs. If flat wickets are to be prepared then 2 questions: 1. Why is Dhoni playing Sharma and Aaron on a pitch that has nothing for them? 2. Why hasn't Dhoni picked 5 bowlers? I say again this is pointless cricket and only benefits batsmen who want to improve their stats.

Posted by simonviller on (November 15, 2011, 3:27 GMT)

Why are some people talking about India gifting their wickets ? What about our guys gifting theirs ? Bravo and Baugh were perfect examples of batsmen gifting their wickets at a time when West Indies were in a position to build a much better score . Those strokes are not even played by people playing "gully-cricket " . If we had better reserves ,they would be watching from the pavilon learning how to . I don't know what has happened to these modern day players ,with all this high tech aid and yet they don't seem to learn much . I f Baugh does not bat responsibly this test ,there might be a change in the next test ,because we can't afford a keeper who can't bat responsibly .

Posted by Caveman. on (November 15, 2011, 2:27 GMT)

@ OhhhhMattyMatty: It is a shocker indeed. Until you look at the scoreline for the series and realize that a win is not a draw :)

Posted by yaaro_mathobba on (November 15, 2011, 2:27 GMT)

@ OhhhhMattyMatty. are you kidding me!!! lol This is only the first day of the match with RR ~= 4. Not saying because I am an Indian but what you said is kinda hilarious with the context of the game :).

Posted by Caveman. on (November 15, 2011, 2:26 GMT)

@ itsthewayuplay: You are, perhaps, unaware of the history of Eden Gardens. That pitch had life until a decade and half back. As far as batting first and winning is concerned, one needs look no further than the 2001 test against Australia to see that there is a lot more to the matches here than just winning the toss.

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (November 15, 2011, 0:29 GMT)

@Antriksh Saal Eden Gardens has never had anything to keep pace bowlers interested and only takes spin on day 3 or 4 onwards. So that means winning the toss gives a matchwinning advantage to the extent the team batting first piles on the runs and then bowls out the opposition cheaply after they been in the field for 2 days - it's pointless and the crowds are voting their feet. Low scoring games where batsmen have to work for their runs such as the one that's just ended between SA and Aus are what's needed to bring the crowds in. Even the possibility of Tendulkar scoring his 100th is not enough to get bums on seats. You need to understand that only Indian fans in India think that Indian pitches are competitve-they're not. Give something to all bowlers and make batsmen work for their runs otherwise don't surprised at the decline of Test cricket.

Posted by Silloh on (November 14, 2011, 23:58 GMT)

Keep at it Windies. Once you continue playing together as a team and give your very best we will get positive results. Always difficult on these slow tracks but good that you did not let the shoulders droop under pressure. The Indians have some class batsmen so we are facing the very best. Strange that Roach didnot open the bowling with Edwards but that's Sammy's call on the day. We need to get VVS or Dhoni early and another quick wicket . Great to see the young opener get a wicket too.

Posted by KeepingitReal on (November 14, 2011, 22:58 GMT)

@Nampally You and a few others keep saying that the dismissals of Sehwag and Gambhir were lucky for WI, but the truth is that Gambhir could have been out twice in the first over and once in the second over. The first ball he faced was edged and would have been caught by a better slip fielder. the last ball of the first over landed inches in front of the fielder, and the fifth ball of the third over was dropped. If Gambhir was really unfortunate, he wouldn't have been out there after the first ball. Let's forget this talk about luck.

Posted by wifan69 on (November 14, 2011, 22:39 GMT)

haha..gibson r u for real, wat r u talkin about?...i stayed up to see fidel and roach running instead i saw sammy bowling with the new ball and sehwag batting like he is playing in the backyard!! can someone tell me y sammy took the new ball infront of roach?...smh!!

Posted by   on (November 14, 2011, 22:27 GMT)

The fact is that the pitches in India are not very good. If West Indies knew how to play spin bowling This series would be extremely boring. of the 20 wickets taken @ Kotla 16 of them went to spinners. Indian Fast bowlers could hardly buy a wicket. i doubt Sharma and co will do a lot of bowling in this test either.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2011, 22:25 GMT)

Nice to see the West Indians playing with a smile on their faces. There was a time when every Indian's second team used to be the West Indies. I for one will always have a soft spot for them.

Posted by Precioustar84 on (November 14, 2011, 21:01 GMT)

Why didn't any one comment when Dravid refused a run today? I guess it doesn't matter because it wasn't Sachin. Sure would've gotten 100s insulting comments had it been Sachin.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2011, 20:04 GMT)


Posted by OhhhhMattyMatty on (November 14, 2011, 19:49 GMT)

India playing for draw against injury ravaged minnows shocker!

Posted by   on (November 14, 2011, 19:34 GMT)

@Godfrey Pieters on (November 14 2011, 15:38 PM GMT)

I guess we will wait and see then. Let us hope that they don't have to work for the remaining 5 wickets, since the first 5 were given to us as bonuses!

Posted by   on (November 14, 2011, 19:02 GMT)

If VVS goes early, then WI can wrap up easily as pie

Posted by Maroon11 on (November 14, 2011, 18:59 GMT)

346 for 5.... WI doomed. Shiv I'm sorry boss but pray that the ones who go before you left with at least a half century otherwise you will have to score 90% of the runs. Watching WI cricket these days is like watching BBC news as a kid, by far the most painful feeling especially when wrestling was showing. Captains opening with spinners is the norm these days but which other team opens with a medium pacer when they have a quite capable Fast bowler? Sammy just doesnt add balance to the team he shifts there equilibrium and makes WI an unstable team...sigh. Even god cant help WI cricket!

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (November 14, 2011, 18:50 GMT)

I saw a lot of but not all the bowling today. Just like the 3rd and 4th day of the 1st test at Kotla this pitch is hopeless. Where is the contest between bat and ball? I don't believe that the batting was so good and the bowling so bad that Ind should be 346-5. The pitch has got to offer something for all the bowlers. Bowler friendly pitches are far more interesting than batting friendly ones Barring Dravid, it also makes Ind batting look better than it is. I see one advantage only and that is it helps new and inexperienced batsmen to adjust to Test cricket so the smart option would have been to play Raina. On such a lifeless pitch Dhoni could have been bold and played 5 specialist bowlers but whose expense I don't know.

Posted by Hendersun on (November 14, 2011, 17:50 GMT)

Good to see Kraigg filling the gap that non-turnining off-spinners like Viv and Chris have been doing for Windies over the years. He and opening partner, Adrian(2 catches) can now claim involvement in 60% of the 5 dismissals on day 1 of this test. Trust the skipper keeps Kraigg for surprise weapon in bowling line-up when needed.

Posted by Srini_Chennai on (November 14, 2011, 17:14 GMT)

What a joke, at least 4 of the 5 wickets fallen today are thrown away by the Indian batsmen.

Posted by Nampally on (November 14, 2011, 16:02 GMT)

WI were lucky to get India out cheaply in the First test because of weird outs of Sehwag & Gambhir + rustiness of the Fab 3. Now the rustiness is off and top 5 batsmen are getting into form, a total of 450 should be thenormal expected of India. I expected 2 centuries from the Indian batsmen. VVS Laxman is still batting at 73 & Dravid already got his century. If VVS, Yuvraj & Dhoni bat well without taking risks, another 150 runs shouod be possible addition to the present total.Fidel Edwards was the best bowler for WI. Sammy was lucky that Sehwag got out early otherwise he was bowling at 9 runs/over in his first 4 overs. On a flat wicket Ojha was able to get 6 wkts. i+ Ashwin 3Wkts in the first innings at Kotla.Can they repeat their form at Eden Garden, which hardly attracted any Adams on Day1.Dhoni appears to be least worried about Aussie squad as he has gone with an unchanged XI.Rahul & Aaron are benched for the 8th game, each.Rahul may have provided the knock out punch in this Test.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2011, 15:38 GMT)

No doubt the Boys stood manfully to their task. Hopefully they can get the other wickets for less than 100. To be honest after VVS there is nothing left.

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