Keeping it in the corridor
After picking six batsmen - seven if you include Mahendra Singh Dhoni - Rahul Dravid won a good toss, considering the run-fests Antigua has produced over the years. However, Brian Lara said that he would have bowled first anyway and his bowlers backed his words with a disciplined performance, bowling a nagging line just outside off stump and getting the ball to swing and cut off the pitch. Apart from a brief passage of play when Virender Sehwag raced along, West Indies successfully dried up the runs and induced easy edges to the wicketkeeper and slip cordon. The first ten overs produced 50 runs but Sehwag's wicket clipped a soaring run-rate. The following graphic shows the line bowled by the West Indian fast bowlers and the % of dot balls played out by the Indian batsmen.
The West Indians didn't blow India away with devastating pace, nor did they deceive them with guile and swing. Instead, they kept plugging away in the channel outside off stump and India kept edging at regular intervals.
The Indian batsmen played out a staggering 435 dot balls in 88 overs. That's almost five an over. The fast bowlers bowled 399 balls - that's also almost five an over - wide outside off stump or on a good line, making the batsmen go after the ball to keep the score moving. Dwayne Bravo and Corey Collymore, who took 4 for 37 and 3 for 37 respectively, bowled 197 balls out of 223 (88%) on or outside off stump. For a while the batsmen resisted, sometimes even succeeded in getting it away for runs, but eventually low confidence and a lack of footwork induced the edge. Six of the top seven batsmen were caught behind the wicket. Sehwag, VVS Laxman and Mahendra Singh Dhoni were done in because of poor footwork, and Dravid, who got bogged down after scoring just one run from his last 21 balls reached for one he would have normally left alone.
George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo