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Analysis

The optional and the mandatory

India's bowlers must get the credit for bowling the West Indies with guile and accuracy to bundle them out for 157.

Wisden CricInfo staff
05-Jul-2005
West Indies were diffident in their first innings, but India's bowlers must get credit for bowling with guile and accuracy to bundle them out for 157. The graphic alongside may not indicate the control with which they bowled, but is a perfect representation of the variety in India's bowling. As many as 140 of the 451 balls India bowled - 31% - were pitched on middle stump or further down leg. But this was not profligacy - Zaheer Khan, bowling round the wicket, pitched a lot of balls on leg which reached the batsman on off stump or just outside; and Harbhajan Singh bowled an effective over-the-wicket leg-stump line to the left-handers. Twenty-eight of his 31 balls that pitched outside leg were bowled to lefties Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Mahendra Nagamootoo, as were 17 of the deliveries on leg stump. All of 12 runs accrued from these 48 balls.
Erapalli Prasanna once said: "line is optional but length is mandatory". He would have been pleased today at the length the Indians bowled. As many as 354 deliveries - 78% - were on a good length or just short, and a further 40 - 9% - were yorkers. It was surprising that West Indies never tried something different to hit the spinners off their length - only once in the 451 balls they faced did a batsman step out.
Interestingly, 103 of West Indies' runs were scored on the leg side. Chanderpaul had a lot to do with this. His ungainly but effective shuffle towards off, and the tendency to play across, ensured that he scored 42 of his runs - 78% - on the leg side. It doesn't matter how they come as long as they do - and when Chanderpaul plays India, they do.
Amit Varma is assistant editor of Wisden.com in India.