West Indies v India, 1st Test, Kingston, 1st day June 20, 2011

'We'll look to get at least 400' - Edwards


It's one of those days when both teams would have hit the bed reasonably satisfied. But there will be enough doubts lingering inside to make them wary about the next morning. India would take 246 from the depths of 85 for 6. West Indies would have taken 246 all out at the start of the day. But both will want to guard themselves against a slip-up.

For some time now, India have been used to winning. For some time now West Indies have been used to losing. If the pitch continues to take considerable turn, and remain two-paced, India will be happy even if they concede a 50-run lead. They can always make it up in the third innings and leave West Indies with a target to chase on a wearing track. If West Indies manage to take a sizeable lead, then they can suffocate India with pressure. It's Test cricket 101 and both camps tried their hand at it.

"We would look to get at least 400 and bat once," Fidel Edwards said. "It won't be easy for them tomorrow," Suresh Raina said when his turn came. "It will turn more, especially in the fourth innings." Raina even slipped in a jab: "Couple of their batsmen don't know how to play spin bowling." The only points where their views merged was in their praise of Devendra Bishoo, the man who set off the dramatic events by packing off Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, and MS Dhoni in 14 deliveries. "He is a star," Edwards added, "I was impressed with him. He took three early wickets and then took a very good catch in the end."

Edwards rarely raises his voice in the press meets. He rarely talks much in the middle too. He stares at the batsmen often and likes to bowl either short or go full. The in-between length doesn't quite feature often in his world and he probably isn't easy to hit with his action. When he finds those spots, he can be a real handful as Virat Kohli found out when a delivery shaped away from a length and sucked him in to a lame prod.

Edwards was told last evening that he would play and he admitted he was a "bit nervous" in his first spell. It was his comeback after all and by his own admission he didn't make the batsmen play that much early on because he "didn't have much match practice". The four-wicket haul would have been heart-warming, as there would have been enormous pressure on him after replacing Kemar Roach. "It must have been hard [for Roach]; I was glad that I was playing. It felt really good to do well. It was good to come back after missing out on so much Test cricket."

Edwards was the finisher, it was Bishoo who left India in trouble. In the end, Bishoo didn't need to set up India's top-order batsman. His stock ball, the legbreak, did the job on its own without any elaborate planning. In 14 deliveries, with the wickets of Laxman, Dravid and Dhoni, he had driven a spear through India's heart.

It came as a bit of a surprise. It's not that Bishoo didn't bowl well; he bowled really well, but the Indian top-order fell without much fight. Laxman drove loosely at the first ball he faced from Bishoo; Dhoni stabbed out at his first delivery. The best ball was the one that removed Dravid. He slipped couple of deliveries short in that over and Dravid put them away to the boundary with utter ease. Then Bishoo tossed one up and got it to dip and turn. It was tempting, even for Dravid, who rarely hits three fours in an over in Test match cricket. He leaned forward into a drive, went too hard into it and didn't quite cover for the turn.

It was at this stage that Harbhajan Singh counterpunched and lifted the pressure off Raina's shoulder. "We just told each other that we would spend as much time as possible [at the crease]," Raina said. "They have two main bowlers and we just wanted to bat long as possible." They did that to drag India back into the game. With West Indies' vulnerability against spin, as was evident in the Pakistan series, and the track taking turn, no side at this stage has an outright advantage.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vivek on June 22, 2011, 16:49 GMT

    Guys, this pitch is not a batting pitch. This pitch is helping both fast bowlers and spinners. So anything 300+ will be a challenge for WI. India should try and bat our Day 3 and 4. If India are still batting on day 4, They should declare when there are 15 overs left in the day. We can get 2-3 wickets in 15 overs. Then india can easily bowl out WI on the 5th day.

  • Dummy4 on June 22, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    I guess Fidel lives in the world of his own

  • Harshal on June 22, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Chennai opening pair does not seem to be test class. Time for Chika and N.Srini junta to give chance to other deserving people.

  • Andrew on June 22, 2011, 2:53 GMT

    Ouch! Not quite matey!!!!!

  • Finn on June 22, 2011, 0:21 GMT

    Didn't quite happen for you Fidel but nice to see you bowling nice and quick on your comeback. Need a big performance on the third morning if WI are to get anything from the game.

  • JIGNESH on June 21, 2011, 22:51 GMT

    Mr. Edwards, I saw your bowling today. Everyone including batsman know what kind of ball you gonna bowl would be the next. Your bowling is wasted and so predictable. Do you really think you would get wickets bowling this kind of particular way? All fast bowlers, especially, you should learn from the legend bowlers-Glenn McGrath, Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, and Wasim Akram who rarely bowl wasted delivery called bouncer. But got a lots of and lots of wickets because no one could predict their balls. You currently bowls 5 out of 6 bouncer in every over thinking batsman makes mistake and you can have your glory wickets. In this match, India has 3 whole days (270 Overs likely). They are not in hurry. You should bowl some kind of so they can play every ball and may make mistakes.

  • Vivek on June 21, 2011, 22:51 GMT

    India should try and get a lead of 500 on day 4 and 5. Then we can easily bowl at this silly West Indies team

  • Dummy4 on June 21, 2011, 19:48 GMT

    Big mouth, Fidel, big mouth....

  • Dummy4 on June 21, 2011, 19:39 GMT

    That is some wishful thinking....Fidel Edwards you do not have the likes of Sir Viv Richards or Lara in the current WI team.

  • JIGNESH on June 21, 2011, 19:06 GMT

    Oh Come On Edwards grow up. Have this WI team ever make 400 runs ? First pass India's score as 246 runs, then think about 400 runs. We know that you are a fast bowler, but you cannot throw the ball that faster thinking no one is gonna play that.

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