India in West Indies / Features

West Indies v India, 4th Test, Jamaica, 1st day

Taylor's dream performance

Jerome Taylor's first five-wicket haul in Test cricket was based on the extremely sound principles of bowling an excellent line and length, and doing it so consistently that the batsmen are ultimately forced into mistakes

On the Ball with S Rajesh

June 30, 2006

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Jerome Taylor's first five-wicket haul in Test cricket was based on the extremely sound principles of bowling an excellent line and length, and doing it so consistently that the batsmen are ultimately forced into mistakes. Admittedly the pitch offered him some assistance, but Taylor made sure he didn't waste it: 83% of his deliveries were in the corridor around off stump or just outside, forcing batsmen into strokes they weren't comfortable playing.

Also, he exploited the Indian batsmen's weakness against the short stuff, using it quite liberally, but the key again was his direction: more often than not, it reached the batsmen around his right shoulder, and the variable bounce on the pitch ensured that the Indians were never sure how to deal with them - ride the bounce and knock it down, or drop the wrists and let it pass. Mohammad Kaif came a cropper twice in his 25-ball stay, and even Rahul Dravid was once forced into an awkward stab at the ball, which fortunately went over the slips.

Dravid, though, was the one batsman who was technically well-equipped to deal with conditions like these, and he showed once again just how much superior he is to the rest of the line-up. He came in to bat in the fourth over, with India having lost both their openers, and stayed till the 85th. Throughout, he batted with exceptional composure: even when the ball was darting around in the morning session, he managed an in-control percentage of 88% by summoning up all his technical expertise. It was an effort quite similar to his 148 at Headingley, when, again, conditions were in favour of the bowlers. Then, Sanjay Bangar, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly all came to the party and took India to an imposing total. Here, he had little support, and the result is India are staring down the barrel just one day into the final Test.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo.

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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