Monday, June 24, 2024
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Dravid ton lifts India to 346/5, Sachin disappoints

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Kolkata: Rahul Dravid slammed a fluent 119 to put India in command before West Indies snapped up two quick wickets in the fag end of the day to recover marginally in the second cricket Test here on Monday.

Opting to bat, Dravid and VVS Laxman (73 batting) continued their love affair on their favourite Eden Gardens track as their 140-run partnership put India in a strong position of 346 for five at close on the opening day.

On a day Sachin Tendulkar missed out again on the 100th international century when he was out on 38, Dravid took centrestage by notching up his 36th Test and his fifth in 2011.

The fourth wicket partnership was broken by part-timer Kraigg Brathwaite who took his maiden Test wicket in form of centurion Dravid who played one on to his stumps.

Laxman was unbeaten on 73 from 116 balls with five fours as the day was called off early because of bad light with 2.3 overs remaining.

Dravid notched up his century by guiding a Kemar Roach delivery towards fine leg for a boundary.

The second leading Test scorer behind Tendulkar completed the mark in 179 deliveries with nine boundaries and one six for his fifth century against the West Indies.

But Dravid missed the 13,000 Test run mark by just 21 runs when he gifted five-Test match old part time offspinner Kraigg Brathwaite an easy wicket playing an inside edge to the stumps.

Nightwatchman Ishant Sharma was dismissed for a duck in a first ball dismissal.

He may be lying low on 12 in the ICC rankings ladder, but Dravid once again showed why he is called one of the finest No 3 batsmen in an innings of great composure.

Dravid came at a time when India were crusing in Twenty20 fashion with 66 in 12 overs.

The 38-year-old Dravid tried to match the run-rate after Sehwag’s cheap dismissal for 38 as he scored 33 from 51 in the first session.

In the post-lunch session after Gautam Gambhir’s departure, the focus obviously shifted to Sachin Tendulkar and his impending 100th International century.

Dravid then slowly built his innings with all eyes on Tendulkar as the Bangalorean was at his defiant best scoring 29 from 77 balls in the second session.

In the fruitful last session, he scored 57 from 79 balls which also included two sixes.

He clubbed Bishoo over long off to decimate the little reign the legspinner had after taking Tendulkar’s wicket while his second over-boundary came off part-time offspinner Marlon Samuels over long on.

Tendulkar came and went but Dravid once again stood like a wall and grew in stature when VVS Laxman joined him in the middle.

A little more than a decade ago, the duo had shared an epic 376-run partnership with to see India bounce back from from being followed on for a 171-run win over Australia in one of the most memorable wins.

Laxman’s 281 and Dravid’s 180 is still part of the cricketing folklore and the duo showed glimpses of that knock.

Laxman brought up his 56th half-century with a typical wristy whip towards square leg as the West Indian attack got little help from the Eden strip.

India had a blazing opening session, courtesy the usual flair of Virender Sehwag who raced away to 38 from 33 balls with eight fours as the West Indian bowlers were at the receiving end.

All the wickets that fell during the day were not because of any bowling brilliance but freak ones with Tendulkar’s being the most disappointing one.

On a batting beauty, Tendulkar looked fluent, milking the inexperienced West Indian bowlers at ease as he hit five boundaries in his 71-ball knock.

The crowd also started filling up in the empty Eden Gardens with Tendulkar looking in fine touch for the landmark milestone.

But it was West Indian legspinner Devendra Bishoo who once again claimed the prized scalp just when he and Dravid were looking to make it big in their 56-run partnership.

Tendulkar could only manage to pull directly to Marlon Samuels at midwicket from a short Bishoo delivery in what appeared a very easy dismissal in the end in the last ball of the 52nd over.

Tendulkar was looking good in the second innning of the opening Test in Delhi but only to be dismissed leg before by the same West Indian leg-spinner.

Earlier Gambhir, cracked his 17th Test half-century but failed to make it big as he fell four overs after lunch.

It was another ordinary ball that yielded in a wicket when Edwards took the wicket after Gambhir drove straight to short cover where Barath took an easy catch.

Gambhir made 65 from 103 balls with eight boundaries. (PTI)

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