Monday, June 17, 2024
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Laxman, Dhoni star on India’s day

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Kolkata: VVS Laxman continued his love affair with the Eden Gardens with an unbeaten 176 and Mahendra Singh Dhoni slammed a century as India buried a hapless West Indies under a mountain of runs to take complete control of the second cricket Test here on Tuesday.

Laxman produced yet another classy knock at his favorite ground where he averages an astounding 110, while Dhoni struck a belligerent 144 (175b, 10×4, 5×6) to record his first century in 21 months as India declared their first innings at a colossal 631 for seven in the post-tea session.

The hosts then dismissed both the West Indies openers to reduce the visitors to a shaky 34 for two before the second day’s play was called 50 minutes early because of bad light. West Indies are trailing by 597 runs.

Laxman and Dhoni stiched 224 runs together for the seventh wicket in an alliance that put India in complete command on what looked to be a good batting track.

Such was the batting domination by India that the hosts had one two-hundred plus, one-hundred plus and four half-century partnerships with Laxman in the middle in three of them.

Indian bowlers did well to claim the early wickets with Umesh Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin taking one wicket each.

Yadav gave the breakthrough when he had the wicket of comeback-man Adrian Barath (1) who was caught at the second slip by Virender Sehwag in the second over with West Indies 3/1.

Newly-married R Ashwin took the other opener in Kraigg Brathwaite (17) in the 12th over of the day which became the last over as the play was called off because of bad light. Play will start half an hour early tomorrow.

Riding on Dhoni’s knock, India scored a quickfire 180 runs to cruise past 600 in the most fruitful second session of two hour and ten minutes, something that helped the hosts consolidate their position.

The batting-friendly Eden strip once again witnessed a feast of runs by India who got past the 600-barrier for the first time after 14 months.

The last time India got past 600 was in July 2010 when they had scored 707 against Sri Lanka in a drawn Test match in Colombo.

The same year in an earlier series against South Africa, India had declared for 657 for seven at the same venue for a win in a match seven batsmen scored centuries including two by Hashim Amla.

Incidentally Dhoni’s last century also had come in the same match at the same venue 21 months ago. (PTI)

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