Vineet Sharma/Zeenews Sports
Kolkata: Day 1 of the Eden Gardens Test saw the Indian batsmen, led by ‘The Wall’ Rahul Dravid (119), take honours as the scorecard read 346/5 at the end of the day’s play.
West Indies struggled to break through on a track which had nothing for the bowlers, but struck a couple of wickets towards the end of the day to salvage some pride. Dravid was visibly unhappy as he dragged a delivery by Kraig Brathwaite on to his stumps, shocking everyone, including the opposition, considering the form that he was in.
‘The Wall’s’ wicket was undoubtedly the biggest one of the day and what made it sweeter for the visitors was the fact that they would have a fresh chance at the Indian batsmen in the morning tomorrow. Night watchman Ishant Sharma could not last, going for a duck on the first ball he faced, forcing Yuvraj Singh to come out before the umpires decided to call it a day.
Dravid had stamped his class all over Eden Gardens with his 36th Test century. His innings was full of elegant strokes that brought joy to spectators. VVS Laxman (73*) was also in good form as he slammed his 56th Test fifty to help the team’s cause.
The duo of Dravid and Laxman took the challenge at hand after Tendulkar’s dismissal and made sure that the batsmen called the shots on Day 1 of the second Test.
Just when the crowd at Eden Gardens started swelling up in the hope of Sachin Tendulkar slamming his 100th ton, the maestro again fell to Devendra Bishoo leaving them disappointed at 38.
The fall brought out VVS Laxman to the crease after which India went into tea time with 212/3 on the scoreboard.
Before this, Dravid steadied the innings after the fall of the openers. He was given apt support by Tendulkar at the other end to make sure that no middle order collapse occurred.
Gautam Gambhir (65) was the second wicket to fall in the day as he was caught off Fidel Edwards’ delivery with the scorecard reading 149/2.
Gambhir was out to a rather poor shot after he had set himself for a big score, reaching for a fuller delivery sans foot movement. The result was expected as Barath made no mistake in completing the catch at short cover.
Gambhir had slammed his 17th Test fifty, his first against West Indies to put India in a comfortable position. The scorecard read 132/1 at lunch due to the good efforts of the top order.
Earlier, just after drinks, West Indies skipper Darren Sammy got the better of his battle with Virender Sehwag (38), giving the visitors their first breakthrough as the scorecard read 66/1 (12.1 overs).
Sammy knew that Sehwag would go after him and placed a very defensive field. Sehwag's eyes lit up and his whippy bottom handed flick went low and straight to mid wicket that was well held by Barath. The fall brought out ‘The Wall’ Rahul Dravid to the crease.
Openers Gambhir and Sehwag were off to a positive start, taking the total past the 50-run mark in the eleventh over. Sehwag was particularly destructive in his approach, smashing three consecutive boundaries off Sammy to make his intentions clear, much to the delight of the spectators.
Aiming to consolidate on the 1-0 lead in the three Test rubber, MS Dhoni’s men would like to win this one more comprehensively after the first Test at Kotla saw fluctuating fortunes on the first two days.
Indian skipper MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first against West Indies at the Eden Gardens stadium.
It was a big moment for Fidel Edwards as he took the new ball on his 50th Test - the first West Indian fast bowler since Curtly Ambrose to get to that landmark.
The iconic stadium was filled with fans eager to see if maestro Sachin Tendulkar would score his 100th international century in front of them. The average score in the first innings at Kolkata is 396 runs and batsmen would like to use the home conditions to their advantage.
Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni(w/c), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Umesh Yadav
Adrian Barath, Kraigg Brathwaite, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Carlton Baugh(w), Darren Sammy(c), Devendra Bishoo, Fidel Edwards, Kemar Roach
There is a little more grass on this wicket. There is a bit more moisture on this pitch and there will be a bit more carry on this wicket.