West Indies v India, 2nd Test, St Lucia, 2nd day June 11, 2006

'A chance to show some character' - Lara

Brian Lara was among the batsmen who failed to negotiate the Indian attack late on the second day © AFP

An expectedly downcast Brian Lara was confident that West Indies could, yet again, defy India in their quest for victory, and urged his batsmen to show some "character". He was critical of the surface provided for the contest, terming it as one that had "disappointed".

"The most important thing is to ensure that the first innings goes beyond tomorrow. If we go into the fourth day, still batting in the first innings, it will be a great achievement. It will give us a psychologial advantage. We have to ensure that our batters get through 90 overs for the best part of tomorrow."

Worryingly for Lara, the pitch appeared to change character once the West Indian batsmen took guard. Munaf Patel struck twice off successive balls while Anil Kumble accounted for Lara, spinning one across him and trapping him in front. "The Indian bowlers were trying to get the ball back, on a pitch that was keeping low. Our two left armers were slanting it across the right-handers, so maybe [Jerome] Taylor and Corey Collymore could learn from them [the Indian bowlers]. There's a bit of wear and tear and not much is going to slip or in the air. So they were trying to get it back into the bat or look for the lbw."

He reiterated that he had "misread" the pitch on the first day, adding that the surface provided left a lot to be desired. "We definitely misread the pitch on Saturday. There have been two drawn matches here. The pitch had a tinge of grass but no sideways movement. It was patchy and we thought fast bowlers will get something out of it. It is very disappointing. We hope St Kitts doesn't disappoint as well.

"The fact of the matter is that we still have a Test to play and there are 270 overs left. We're really looking forward to it - this is what Test cricket is all about. With our backs against the wall, we have a chance to show some character. [Ramnaresh] Sarwan, [Daren] Ganga and myself have another chance to fight. Chris Gayle and Chanderpaul batted an entire session in Antigua in more testing conditions and this will test their mettle. Everybody is looking to defying the Indians."

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo