Munaf powers Indian victory
India registered a facile win after West Indies, in a perfect exhibition of the infamous Calypso Collapso, deflated like cheap party balloons and were shot out for a paltry 85 in the scenic Trewlany Stadium in Jamaica
Brian Lara fell to a tame dismissal, triggering a stunning collapse
India registered a facile win after West Indies, in a perfect exhibition of the infamous Calypso Collapso, deflated like cheap party balloons and were shot out for a paltry 85 in the scenic Trewlany Stadium in Jamaica. Choosing to bat first, they threw their wickets away against a disciplined bowling performance, led by the impressive Munaf Patel.
The only blot on the otherwise perfect India card was the failure of Virender Sehwag. He fell to yet another loose drive but the young guns Robin Uthappa and Dinesh Karthik fired as India romped home to a nine-wicket win.
There were no demons in the pitch, but West Indies batted like they were in a horror movie, slashing away to their own demise. The Indians did nothing special. They didn't have to as self-destruction was the theme of the day. Loose drives, hesitant pokes and over-ambitious swipes punctuated West Indies' shocking batting display and they went down in a heap.
Zaheer Khan, who impressed with his line and length in the opening spell, started off the slide by strangling Shivnarine Chanderpaul down the leg side. Ajit Agarkar continued his recent good record against Chris Gayle, packing him off with a delivery that curved away.
Enter Brian Lara and for a brief while it looked as if he, along with Ramnaresh Sarwan, would launch a counterattack which would lift West Indies out of the early scare. Standing slightly outside the crease, eschewing that exaggerated back and across movement that he occasionally indulges in, Lara went about his task with serenity. He unfurled fluent cover-drives and imperious pulls but the shot of the day was an on-the-up arrogant drive past Agarkar, the bowler. Sarwan warmed up with couple of feisty square-cuts against Agarkar and the duo looked to be in control when disaster gatecrashed their party.
Pathan, who struggled getting the ball across in the first over, pitched his final delivery almost in the middle of the track. Lara shaped to pull and was surprised by the lack of pace as the ball stopped on him. Unable to react, he merely swatted it back at the equally surprised bowler. With Lara's demise, the cat was squarely among the pigeons.
Patel, who bowled from close to the wicket and was more often than not on target, slid a delivery down the middle and leg stump line. Sarwan contrived to get squared-up and edged it to the slip cordon and from then on it was a procession of West Indies batsmen.
Dwayne Bravo pulled Patel tamely to midwicket; Kieron Pollard, in his first major outing, wasted the opportunity by chasing a wide Pathan delivery; Marlon Samuels was trapped in front, playing across the line and Denesh Ramdin had a lame poke at a delivery outside off. 62 for 8 and it looked more a cool-down game rather than any warm-up for the hosts. Eighteen runs later, Dwayne Smith, after a few attempts at self-destruction, fell going for a pull to a delivery outside off and when Anil Kumble trapped Jerome Taylor in front, it was all over.
Pathan, despite bagging three wickets, did not look too threatening. First, he struggled with his control, then with his pace - he didn't get to 125 kmph, and there was not much swing either. Slowly, with the West Indies batsmen in a generous mood, he began to get his rhythm back. Even if they didn't bend back in, he got a few deliveries to hold their line and got some to tease the outside edge.
It was Munaf Patel who was the best bowler on view. Bowling close to the wicket, he hit the good length area and moved the ball off the seam. Nagging line and the right length meant he ended up with a rich haul. For the hosts, Daren Powell bowled with purpose. He got appreciable bounce and pace off the track.
West Indies, who have chased successfully
in the recent times, chose to test their skills in setting up a target and came up a cropper. Meanwhile, India will leave Jamaica with the Sehwag puzzle still unsolved. The rest of the pieces, it appears, are slowly falling into place.
Sriram Veera is editorial assistant of Cricinfo