India v West Indies, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 1st day November 22, 2011

No Chanderpaul, no problem

In the absence of their lynchpin, West Indies came into the Test with their top seven having played fewer Tests than Virender Sehwag, but they were far from intimidated at the Wankhede Stadium

When England won the last Test to be played here in March 2006, they did so with a top seven that had just 136 caps between them. It was Sachin Tendulkar's 132nd game but once India blundered by opting to bowl first, England relied on diligent batting and tremendously disciplined bowling to script a famous 212-run victory. Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire provided the soundtrack.

It's far too early to say which way this game will go, but the callow nature of a West Indies batting line-up missing the experience of Shivnarine Chanderpaul brought back memories of that match. England could at least fall back on the example set by Andrew Flintoff, who was playing his 59th Test. West Indies have no one of comparable stature, with Marlon Samuels - whose career has had more stops and starts than a cab in Mumbai traffic - the most experienced batsman (36 games).

Between them, the six specialist batsmen and Carlton Baugh have played fewer games (86) than Virender Sehwag, who is now just eight caps short of hundred. But they were far from intimidated by the prospect of going into the match without their experienced lynchpin. Kraigg Brathwaite, who made 68 and added 137 with Adrian Barath for the first wicket, suggested that the approach had been no different even with the fulcrum taken away.

"As batsmen, we have to score runs," he said, speaking with the same composure that marked his batting. "That's the bottom line."

The openers eased into proceedings slowly, cautious against Varun Aaron's pace and not inclined to take risks till well into the second hour. "The ball did a bit early on," said Brathwaite. "But it was a good pitch, the best we've played on [in India] so far."

He bowled the odd full toss and strayed on to the pads occasionally, but R Ashwin represented India's biggest wicket-taking threat, eventually dismissing both openers. This was no spinner's paradise, though, with Brathwaite admitting that the ball turned so slowly that there was ample time to adjust strokes.

"As openers, we looked to get through the first hour," he said. "After that, we wanted to press on and give the team the best start possible." VVS Laxman reprieved Brathwaite at leg slip when he had 57, but it was otherwise another impressive display in concentration and application.

"Playing against India in India and making two 50s has given me a lot of confidence. It's not easy [Test cricket], but I have to keep moving on from here."

With the openers having established a solid foundation, Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo cashed in with some gorgeous strokeplay in the final session. On a surface where most batsmen will fancy a big score once set, neither looked askance at the loose ball. Edwards dealt in power, while Bravo's game was marked by his timing and placement.

"We'll look to bat two days, as India did in the last game," said a confident Brathwaite. "The mood in the dressing room's bubbly and we'll come out tomorrow and look to dominate."

India, for their part, will look to make sure that they aren't encircled by another ring of fire.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 23, 2011, 22:25 GMT

    WI shouldn't worry 2 much about Sachin & that century. It wouldn't happen in this test. Why? Sachin has a poor record batting on 3rd & 4th day pitches. He doesn't make much in his 2nd innings. This means that he doesn't enjoy batting on 3rd & 4th day pitches. His 1st innings in this test is on a 3rdday pitch & it will be agst his nemesis, none other than Mr. D Bishoo. And his 2nd inning will be on a 4th day pitch, agst the same bowler.What a daunting task.Of course there r always exceptions to the rules.

  • Dummy4 on November 23, 2011, 11:40 GMT

    The good news is that this one will end in a draw,no W/W. The disappointment is we didn't declare & bowl at least 6 ovs at the obviously tired Indians. Sammy must learn that winning is foremost. With 560 on the tin we can only win. That wicket has s/thing for the pacers, & it will spin prodigiously on the 4th day. Noteworthy, a WI innings in excess of 500 runs with no sixes, & BRAVO 166. Is that a record? Check it out. Well done guys u make me proud.

  • JIGNESH on November 23, 2011, 8:24 GMT

    @ Fast_Track_Bully, you are right, my mistake. In ODI series, one match was tied and one was abandoned. But world's number 1 team couldn't win any matches of 4 tests, 5 ODIs and T20 in England. ODI series wasn't a whitewash, but they couldn't win any of them either. And this WI team is at number 7 on ICC table and scored nearly 500 runs of only 4 wickets in India right now in third test. Indian team still celebrating when the wickets fall. What a bunch of jokers, sorry actors!!!

  • Adnan on November 23, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    what a stragety by BCCI and mumbay cricket assoc, to make sure tendulkar get his 100th century at mumbai they have come up with a track on which even WI batsmans are scoring big, this reminds of kapil days when he was nearing hadlle record india plays lot of home matches with home umpires and lot of LBWs, come on man tendulakar doesn't need such support he is too good to achive it even in Australia

  • Manesh on November 23, 2011, 3:36 GMT

    It is a special wicket for Sachin and this goonna end in draw.... @JigneshPatel_007, Whitewash means winning all matches in a series, I do not know how can an ODI series with a tie and abandoned match can be a whitewash!!!

  • sachin on November 22, 2011, 23:29 GMT

    I think this is the best pitch in which india can use to prepare for the Aussie series. What the pitch lacks in speed it makes up in bounce. Observing from aaron's first spell where he extracted some bonce going away the right hander, if he was more consistent he could have a wicket. Looking back at the beginning of the series i thought india would demolish WI because of experience and home advantage. But surprisingly I think the two teams are evenly match.

  • JIGNESH on November 22, 2011, 22:53 GMT

    Total number of runs, centuries, and catches own by only one Indian player-Dravid are more than the whole West Indies team own, but WI choked-up Indian team in first test and this test. It called really an achievement. Way to go West Indies. Current Indian team has so-called the greatest batsmen who achieved many many records in cricket and quality bowlers but don't have skills to give whitewash to any nation including Zimbabwe, West Indies, Bangladesh, and New Zealand in tests of minimum of 3 matches. They even couldn't avoid the whitewash by England in recent Tests, ODIs and T20s series. Their so-called greatest cricketers also ran away declaring fake cause as "injured" in middle of the series because of not performing well and the number 1 on ICC table team-India suffered the greatest whitewash, where they couldn't win any of the match of that series. I don't expect anything from team-India, but a lot from WI. Once again, way to go WI.

  • Orang on November 22, 2011, 22:47 GMT

    Don't want to take anything away from the young West Indian batters, but the bowling and fielding of the Indian team has been miserable. The Windies deserve to win, but it will be conveniently forgotten because India have won the series. However, India's prospects in Australia with this team ( and there is no bench strength either) are extremely bleak.

  • jack on November 22, 2011, 22:34 GMT

    am really impressed with this young west indies batting line up, i believe the removal of the disruptive influence in the dressing room (those players more intrested in their own preformance and pockets rather than results for WI, i.e. gayle, other bravo) has meant that the senior role model for these players is chanderpaul (and what better a role model for dedication and determination to the cause). The openers are 20yrs old and showing maturity beyond their years plus bravo and edwards show they have that old westindian flair, but more importantly along with it they have the determination to score big and not throw their wickets away ( unlike gayle or sarwan who were all about show) similar to the old great WI batting line ups that although we remember them as flashy attacking batsmen had the dedication that latter generations have so far been misssing. Samuals also looks more mature at this stage. However the bowlers indisipline and sammys role in the team are still a worry goWI

  • Michael on November 22, 2011, 22:26 GMT

    With the rapid improvement shown by K.Edwards over the last 6 months or so,I seriously think that he should be added to the ODI squad.A double is there for the taking .I also said that Brathwaite was too green for test matches,but it looks as though I will have to eat my words.In the absense of Chanders, Samuels should be coming in next.Show the crowd ,that this team can score 600 runs too.

  • No featured comments at the moment.