West Indies v India, 3rd Test, Dominica, 3rd day July 8, 2011

India take charge on rainless day


India 308 for 6 (Dhoni 65*, Mukund 62, Laxman 56, Raina 50) lead West Indies 204 by 104 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The Windsor Park Stadium in Dominica staged its first full day of Test cricket on which India consolidated their position of strength, though after going through a couple of worrying phases against a depleted West Indies attack missing the services of Ravi Rampaul due to a viral infection. Abhinav Mukund and VVS Laxman overcame the pressure inflicted by a fiery opening spell from Fidel Edwards and Darren Sammy to build a platform for a substantial lead, and Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni ensured India stayed on track after a couple of freak dismissals that included some slick wicketkeeping from Carlton Baugh threatened to undermine the hard work.

The weakened hosts would have known they were in for a long ordeal, but they made it difficult for India with an early double-strike. Edwards was dangerous with late swing, nearly yorking M Vijay in his first over of the day and dislodging him off his first ball of the second. He should have had Rahul Dravid, having deceived him twice with his late away movement, but Darren Sammy surprised Dravid with one that nipped back in to bowl him through the gate. Lots of patience and solidity was the need of the hour and Mukund and Laxman showed that to prop up India.

It took some resolve to recover from 18 for 2. Abhinav showed excellent concentration and grafted his way to a maiden half-century that justified his selection for the tour of England. He used his feet well against the variations in length and when Edwards tried to ruffle him with some short balls, he was adept at handling them, moving back and tapping them down with soft hands. Opportunities weren't wasted either, as he dispatched Devendra Bishoo's full toss and cracked Edwards behind square leg and past point for successive boundaries. Hopes of a century were cut short when he offered a bat-pad chance off Bishoo, playing a shot that fetched him a fair number of runs today - the whip through square leg.

Laxman took 16 deliveries to get off the mark as the early part of his innings was spent seeing off the fast bowlers. On a big ground and a slow outfield, he rotated the strike well, picking up the pace when Bishoo was introduced into the attack. Boundaries were long, so he picked off singles and twos, playing the ball late, preferring the areas past point and down the ground as the field spread out. Bishoo didn't give too much air but when he did, Laxman caressed him through extra cover. When Bishoo dragged it short, Laxman brought up his half-century pulling him over midwicket. He looked good to build on with Virat Kohli, who had progressed to 30, and Sammy sticking to a leg-stump line on a track robbed of its early assistance.

At 168 for 3, West Indies were beginning to look deflated but an opening wasn't far away. They struck against the run of play when Kohli was caught expertly down the leg side by Baugh. What's more, even though the appeal was for a catch, his foot was found to be in the air when Baugh instinctively took off the bails. But nothing could better what followed.

Bowlers can't get more innocuous than Shivnarine Chanderpaul and that was evident when he - handed the ball after Sammy was short of options - lobbed some amiable deliveries so far outside off that Laxman didn't bother chasing them. However, they proved deceptively threatening, even though Chanderpaul - who was bowling for the first time since 2007 - would not have planned them to be. In one of the more bizarre dismissals in Tests, Laxman, having left another of those shockers alone, casually lifted his back leg a touch; Baugh took off the bails at that instant. Laxman is known for his shell-shocked expressions when dismissed - Chennai 2001, Rawalpindi 2004, spring to mind - and this one was right alongside them as he was sent back looking dumbfounded against the unlikeliest of wicket-takers.

West Indies had clawed back to make it 172 for 5. With scores of 0, 15, 2 and 5 in this series, Dhoni was under pressure but against spin, in the company of a fluent Raina and the field spread out, he stepped up to revive India. Boundaries weren't necessary as the pair ran well, working the gaps, nudging and dabbing away with Bishoo and Chanderpaul bowling extended spells.

The West Indies seamers were not at their optimum fitness: Sammy was frequently seen holding his calf muscle while Edwards got some work done on his thigh. That made it easier for India, and Dhoni and Raina took full toll of the opportunities they got. Singles were converted to twos, Raina pulled and drove Bishoo for boundaries to break a long drought while Dhoni cashed in against Edwards towards the end of the day, smacking him through square leg before launching him over mid-off. In the interim, Edwards managed to trap Raina in front off the second new ball but only after the pair had put on a century stand and Raina had notched up his third fifty of the series, helping set up a potentially decisive lead, weather permitting.

Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo

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  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    So now Indian Blues on high....

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2011, 15:16 GMT

    Brilliant, brilliant Fidel Edwards ! That's now 18 wickets in the series so far . This guy is going to be Windies spearhead for a few years as long as he keeps fit. It is so good to see such a good comeback to test cricket for him. Now the batsmen must show the kind of grit that the whole team showed yesterday when they were a bowler short. And come on Shiv, show them that you are not nearly finished with test cricket yet. Remember Boycott. He played his last test when he was 40 ! So Shiv you're just a kid in comparison.

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2011, 14:26 GMT

    ICC should consult meteorological dept. before scheduling any series. It's just a waste of money and time for everybody involved.

  • samya on July 9, 2011, 13:53 GMT

    i used to be always no 1 in my school race not because i was usaine bolt of my school but others were like bolt's 90 years old grandpa. india's no 1 title is justified in todays scenario but can this indian team beat the MAN of 70s consisting lloyed, richards, hall etc or the MATES of late 90s.(wagha bros,warn, mcgrath etc). were those west indian or australian teams no1 because they didnt have any competitors(like i hadnt any in my school days.. haha) or they were the superior???i used to be always no 1 in my school race not because i was usaine bolt of my school but others were like bolt's 90 years old grandpa. india's no 1 title is justified in todays scenario but can this indian team beat the MAN of 70s consisting lloyed, richards, hall etc or the MATES of late 90s.(wagha bros,warn, mcgrath etc). were those west indian or australian teams no1 because they didnt have any competitors(like i hadnt any in my school days.. haha) or they were the superior???

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2011, 12:57 GMT

    As a WI fan I can't help admiring MS. Some will call him intelligent, others opportunist. I like intelligent. With meagre returns thru out the series the guy decides to come good against a very weaken WI attack. Our strike bowler is ill, and Shiv is bowling.I love that. Its called taking yr chances when they come, and why not.

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2011, 12:38 GMT

    Does any1 know why rampaul codunt bowl?

  • Steve on July 9, 2011, 12:36 GMT

    Vijay seems to have completely lost his confidence the way he played. Mukund certainly has better temperament for tests. Overall, a good batting display by Ind. If they can make another 50 today, WI will be under pressure even though I expect they will play positively to win this test and draw series. 1-0 or 2-0 means the same, no point in trying to draw this test for WI.

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    Why wasnt Marlon Samuels bowling there? He have quite a decent first class record and has bowled well in ODIs when he last played few years ago.

  • Mike on July 9, 2011, 10:20 GMT

    Those Complaing about India being no.1 should understand that it means that other teams are worse than India and that's why India is no. 1 or India is better than the other test teams. It's relative ranking and not absolute. SA failed to beat Pak in test series (played on neutral ground) and Eng won 1-0 against SL at home without Malinga and unfit Dilshan. I am looking forward to SL vs AU (our home series).

  • gopa on July 9, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    well today will be a deciding day of the match Dhoni will have to up the anti and accelerate the scoring rate today get the score past 500 by the tea time and ask the west indies to bat the last 1hr that could effect a result in indias favour or else it will be again a tame draw.only way india can win the match now is win it by an innings so i hope dhoni should push for that. in the above comments i read someone reffering to the england series. honestly i recently read and article in times of india were former english bowler now a comentator darren gough saying that "england can beat india 7 days a week". quite honelty the way ishant sharma and praveen kumar is swing the ball in dead pitches in west indies the matches in windy english conditions will barely last 2weeks with all the 4 test matches which is going to take place. i wont be surprised if ishant praveen and zaheer wreks havoc in the english line up with there pace in swing.it would realy be hardwork for them for sure.

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