India vs West Indies, July 31st, Dambulla

The under strength West Indies who really have no hope of winning this tournament, was not expected to seriously challenge India and they didn’t. Even if this is their second string side, their batting is so pedestrian that it points to a real lack of depth in their domestic tournament. The only batsman who can be classified as an international player is Chanderpaul. It really is a tragedy, because their pace bowling attack is very good, and at times can even be considered menacing and you are left wondering what if?

Jermaine Lawson can be a match winner with his extremely sharp pace and bounce. He got Sehwag in a way reminiscent of some of his earlier failures against the Hooper’s Windies team in the 2002-03 one day series, where they angled the short ball into his body and got him out caught at short fine leg. This time it was the keeper, Denesh Ramdin, who moved across so well that he made a difficult catch down the legside look ridiculously easy. Even Powell and Best were bowling at 90mph, but in the end the Windies didn’t have enough runs on the board and they ran into the Wall known as Dravid. If the Windies can put up a decent batting performance in the next game against Lanka their bowlers might be able to create an upset win.

Apparently captaincy has just spurred on Rahul Dravid’s batting. The strength of purpose and resilience he displays in batting is unbelievable and he is definitely leading from the front. He has given his bowlers lengthy spells to build up their rhythm in each match, and they might yet peak in the final. Harbhajan bowled very well again, and is looking like India’s best bowler in this series. The other impressive performance today was by Suresh Raina. He had some luck early on, being reprieved at point off Lawson when he hadn’t scored a run and later by the keeper off Best. But, he showed great skill off his pads, picking off Powell’s wayward deliveries powerfully to the boundary. He also handled the short ball well, and revealed some off side flourish from the back foot. At 18 years old, he looks like an exciting talent for India. Raina was again outstanding in the field, and earned a run out with an extremely quick chase, pick up and accurate throw to the keeper. He bowled useful off breaks too, picking up the big wicket of Chanderpaul, and looks like a cricketer who enjoys all aspects of the game.

But, the Indian batting still hasn’t taken off and if India has to win the Tri-Series the batsmen have to build partnerships. It must be pointed out that Kaif looked better against the new ball than Yuvraj Singh. Sourav Ganguly will be back for the next match, and it’ll be good for India to have his experience in the top order. Even with Dravid and Chappell stressing on flexibility in the batting order we can be reasonably sure that Ganguly will open the batting.


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