India`s spin attack capable of ensuring series win
Kolkata: India goes into the second Test against the West Indies on Monday safe in the knowledge that its new spin attack is capable of winning games in familiar home conditions.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin`s debut match haul of 9-128 was the standout performance in a five-wicket victory in the first game in New Delhi and the more experienced Pragyan Ojha took seven wickets with his left-arm spin.
India is playing the three-match series with one of its most inexperienced bowling attacks in recent years, with regular pace spearhead Zaheer Khan out with an injury and seasoned off-spinner Harbhajan Singh shunted out by selectors.
Pace bowler Umesh Yadav was the other debutant for India in the opener, taking two wickets in the game.
The young bowlers repaid the faith of selectors, who were hopeful that an experienced batting lineup would make up for any shortcomings, despite having failed to cross the 300-run mark in four previous Tests.
A series-clinching win at Eden Gardens could give selectors a chance to experiment further in the final Test in Mumbai, and they could even be tempted to tinker with the batting lineup which includes top names like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and V.V.S. Laxman.
"We`re hoping we can take a 2-0 lead because that will allow us to start preparing for the Australia tour early," chief selector Krishnamachary Srikkanth said earlier this week. "A win in this Test will help us try some different ideas."
For the West Indies, left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul`s knack of getting runs against India continued as he hit his seventh century against the team and 24th overall.
His odd stance, in which he seems to face the fielder at mid-wicket rather than the bowler, has proved effective in recent years. But other West Indian batsmen will have to put up bigger scores.
"As soon as the spinners settled (in the first Test) we went into a shell," captain Darren Sammy said after the first Test loss. "Maybe we could bat a bit more positively like Shiv showed us."
The West Indian bowling has looked promising so far with pace bowler Fidel Edwards troubling batsmen with deliveries that slide into them and Sammy bowling a consistent length.
"I would like to commend our bowlers, they have been doing a wonderful job," Sammy said.
The final Test will be played in Mumbai from Nov. 22-26 and will be followed by one-dayers in Cuttack (Nov. 29), Visakhapatnam (Dec. 2), Ahmedabad (Dec. 5), Indore (Dec. 8) and Chennai (Dec. 11).
India: Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Ravichandran Ashwin, Rahul Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron.
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Adrian Barath, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Carlton Baugh, Darren Sammy (captain), Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Denesh Ramdin, Shane Shillingford, Fidel Edwards, Devendra Bishoo