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Friday, 8 November 2013

India vs West Indies – 1st Test, Day 2: Report


With a knock that was a picture of patience, perseverance and elegance, Rohit Sharma engineered India’s recovery with a century on debut, after Shane Shillingford had left the hosts reeling on 83 for five in the morning. Coming in to bat at No.6, Rohit carried forward his superb limited-overs form into the first Test. Adapting to the situation he played a careful knock at the Eden Gardens to tip the balance back in India’s favour. (Also Read: India vs West Indies – 1st Test, Day 1: Mach Reports)

He bided his time at the crease as he first helped MS Dhoni stabilise the Indian innings, and then with an unbroken 198-run partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin, the middle-order bat guided India to 120–run lead at the end of Day 2. At stumps India were 354 for six, with Rohit unbeaten on 127 and Ashwin eight short of his century.

Earlier, playing in his 11th Test match, West Indian off-spinner Shane Shillingford was instrumental in keeping the Indian batsmen on a tight leash as he claimed four of the five wickets that fell in the first session. He first clipped the bails off Shikhar Dhawan’s stumps in his second over of the day to get the ball rolling, and then had a clueless Murali Vijay stumped by Denesh Ramdin.

Sheldon Cotterrell then got the prized wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara as the No.3 bat ended up offering a simple catch to Ramdin behind the stumps while attempting to hit it over the wicketkeeper’s head – this was the fast bowler’s first Test scalp.

Three runs later, Shillingford had Sachin Tendulkar added to his list of wickets. The master batsman, playing in his penultimate match, had gracefully sent the bowler to the fence twice, before an debatable leg-before decision saw him walk back for 10. His departure brought Rohit to the crease. But India’s misfortune continued as Virat Kohli was the next to be sent back. With half the side back in the dressing room, Dhoni joined Rohit in the middle and the duo took India to lunch without losing any more wickets.

Playing with caution, the India captain and Rohit worked diligently to rebuild the innings. While the skipper was more dominating of the two, Rohit was content with rotating the strike and playing the supporting role. The partnership began to take shape as they continued to inch closer to West Indies’ first-innings tally. But just as India looked to regain some of the lost ground, Tino Best struck to remove Dhoni for 42, thereby ending a valuable 73-run stand.

However, Ashwin, who replaced Dhoni at the crease, joined forces with Rohit to reduce the deficit. With the chips down, Rohit exercised restraint and played a mature knock to keep the match hanging in the balance. He reached his half-century, and along with Ashwin, who has often displayed the ability to wield the willow wisely, Rohit took the home team within five runs of West Indies’ first-innings total at tea.

Having wrested the advantage from the visitors, Rohit and Ashwin overcame the deficit and built on the partnership. Settling into a rhythm they milked the WI bowlers as they worked towards strengthening their team’s position. While Ashwin went past his half-century, Rohit playing unhurriedly had soon brought up his ton with a boundary, becoming the 14th Indian to do so on debut. With the lead under their belt, the two took the attack to the West Indies bowlers as they scored freely during the last session of the day and added 125 runs post tea.  


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