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November 16, 2011
The first half of the third day at Eden gardens went perfectly for India, with West Indies bowled out for just 153 before lunch. Thereafter, the buzzword was discipline rather than destruction, with the visiting batsmen applying themselves far better in the second innings. Despite that, though, India are just seven wickets away from sealing a series victory.
Pragyan Ojha had a hand in each of the last four West Indian wickets to fall in the first innings, finishing with 4 for 64. He was confident that another early start on Thursday would allow India to push home the advantage. "In the morning, there was some moisture in the wicket and it was doing a bit for us," he said after the third day's play. "We hope the same thing happens tomorrow. Our guys are bowling superbly, hitting the right areas. We are confident of getting them out early tomorrow."
Ojha was given the new ball in the first innings, but MS Dhoni opted for a more conventional approach in the second. Ojha said he enjoyed his stint with the harder ball, though he reckoned it had more to do with the conditions than tactics. "The main reason was that the wicket was spinning a lot. Yesterday the light was bad so we thought of going with spin rather than pace. I thank Dhoni bhai for having a lot of confidence in me and [R] Ashwin."
Ojha has bowled just 11 of the 62 overs India have sent down so far in the second innings, and despite the early loss of Kraigg Brathwaite, West Indies didn't crumble a second time. "The wicket became a little better," Ojha said. "I think we did quite well, hit the right areas and bowled a disciplined line.
"At some point of time, you do wonder what would have happened if we had taken one more wicket. But they also batted well in the second innings. We should give them credit."
So far, he and Ashwin have complemented each other well, playing pivotal roles in the win in Delhi. In Ojha's case, the responsibility of being the side's senior spinner appears to have worked wonders.
Another big contribution in a win here, and Ojha would be more or less assured of a seat on the plane to Australia in December. But he insisted that he wasn't looking that far ahead. "I am not focussing on the Australia tour at the moment. My aim is to win the Test and look forward to Mumbai [the third and final Test against West Indies]. God willing, if I do well there I can look forward to other things."
On this evidence, he has much to look forward to.
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Pataudi Jr caught a young English fan's fancy for his princely ways and his heroic batting