India look for series win and Tendulkar’s 100th ton at Eden (Preview)November 13th, 2011 - 2:29 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Nov 13 (IANS) India go into the second cricket Test against the West Indies here at the Eden Gardens Monday, hoping their in-form young spinners will wrap up the three-match series and, as the icing on the cake, master batsman Sachin Tendulkar would get his 100th international 100.
Up 1-0 in the three-match series, rallying after conceding a sizeable first-innings lead to put it across the Caribbeans at Delhi’s Feroze Shah Kotla, the Indians would like to carry the momentum against a side that today lacks the character their predecessors had and the awe with which the cricket world looked at them a couple of decades ago.
India have won the last three Test series against the West Indies and they should make it four in a row without much difficulty.
Much will, however, depend on off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who will be out playing here barely 24 hours after getting married in Chennai Sunday, and his left-arm partner Pragyan Ojha.
The two young men picked up 16 of the 20 West Indies wickets on the slow Kotla turner, Ashwin on debut getting nine and a dozen-Tests-old Ojha seven. The chances of an encore by the two at Eden are high as the track here is also known to assist slow bowlers, particularly on the last two days.
“As long as I’ve known, spin has been our problem. We need to find a way to score against spin and not let it get to us,” West Indies skipper Darren Sammy said.
The spin success must have come as a big relief to skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has gone into the first Test with an inexperienced attack — no Zaheer Khan, recovering from a hamstring and ankle injury, and Harbhajan Singh, who is struggling to find form in domestic cricket.
Batting does not appear to be a major problem for India, despite unaccountable collapses in West Indies and England. The top-order is still good enough to bail them out in Indian conditions. The first-innings slump in the Delhi Test got the batsmen a bit of a tongue-lashing from their captain.
There can’t be a better batting line-up than Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni himself.
The match could be special for the game and Tendulkar.
The Mumbaikar raised hopes of reaching the milestone of scoring a hundred international centuries in the second innings of the first Test, but was stopped at 76 by leggie Devendra Bishoo.
Tendulkar has been a notch below his best at Eden Gardens, scoring only two 100s in 10 Test matches and local cricket buffs are hoping that the little master will make it truly special this time.
Gambhir has gone without a century in his last 12 Tests and got out after good starts in both the innings at Kotla. The home ground of Kolkata Knight Riders, of which he is captain, should inspire him to try and get his 10th 100 in his 43rd Test.
A series-clinching victory would also give the selectors an opportunity to try out other promising youngsters ahead of the tour Down Under.
West Indies, however, can take heart from their favourable 3-1 win-loss record in eight Test matches here.
Left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who has a terrific record against India, should again shoulder the team, having hit the seventh century against India in the Kotla Test.
Besides, the West Indies bowlers put up a good, combined effort in the first innings when they shot out the Indians for 209.
Last but not the least, the Eden track has emerged as a major talking point. After the sharp criticism from Indian captain during the ODI and twenty20 ties against England last month, there was much speculation that the curator has been told by the board to come up with a turner for the Test.
But the strip still has some grass, with veteran curator Prabir Mukherjee promising a firm wicket where the spinners are likely to extract turn over the last two days.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Varun Aaron, Rahul Sharma.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (captain),Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Adrian Barath, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Carlton Baugh, Ravi Rampaul, Fidel Edwards, Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach, Denesh Ramdin, Shane Shillingford.
Umpires: Rod Tucker and Bruce Oxenford (Both Australia). TV Umpire: S. Ravi. Fourth Umpire: Vineet Kulkarni.
Match Referee: Jeff Crowe (New Zealand).
Hours of play: 9.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m.; 11.40 a.m. to 1.40 p.m.; 2.00 pm to 4.00 p.m.
(Sirshendu Panth can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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Tags: ankle injury, arm partner, ashwin, bowlers, caribbeans, cricket batting, cricket test, cricket world, domestic cricket, eden gardens, feroze, harbhajan singh, mahendra singh dhoni, master batsman, pragyan, ravichandran, test series, west indies, wickets, zaheer khan