Tendulkar, Dravid put India on course for victory

India need another 124 runs to chase with eight wickets in hand AFP

By Abhishek Hore

New Delhi: Nov 8, 2011

India had their nose ahead after they safely negotiated the West Indies bowlers on a tricky pitch to move to 152 for two and inch closer to the victory target of 276 in the first Test on Tuesday.

Tamil Nadu off-spinner Ravichandran Aswhin had vindicated his selection into the Test side with a five-for on debut, before Virender Sehwag (55 off 55 balls) provided the impetus to India’s innings with a typically aggressive knock, to leave the hosts within 124 runs from a victory on the third day.

At stumps, a resolute Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar were batting on 30 and 33 respectively. The duo’s unbroken third-wicket partnership has yielded 57 runs so far.

Seeking to score a record 100th international ton, Tendulkar today completed 15,000 runs in this form of the game when he pushed Devendra Bishoo towards extra cover, and along with Dravid, would look to ensure that Ashwin’s superlative effort of six for 47 doesn’t go in vain when India resume their innings tomorrow.

After Aswhin helped the hosts bowl out the visitors for a paltry 180 in their second innings, Sehwag along with Gautam Gambhir (22 off 32) started the chase in right earnest, putting on 51 runs in less than 10 overs. During his 80-minute stay at the crease, Sehwag delighted a turnout of 14,422 as well as he can with his pyrotechnics.

After Gambhir flicked Fidel Edwards to deep square-leg boundary to start India’s run chase, Sehwag launched into a booming straight drive off the same bowler. He followed that by whipping Edwards to the deep square-leg area.

The Nawab of Najafgarh then punished Marlon Samuels with a six over deep extra cover, before taking on Bishoo, whacking the leg-spinner for a massive six over long-on.

West Indies skipper Darren Sammy provided the timely breakthrough by disturbing the Delhi batsman’s timber. It was his second fifty of the match, and 29th overall.

Sehwag was lucky to have survived as he was dropped by Ravi Rampaul in his follow-through just before the tea-break, but West Indies struck at the start of the final session, when Samuels rapped Gambhir on his pads.

Sehwag then added 44 runs for the second wicket before Sammy put the brakes on the former’s innings, to signal the arrival of Tendulkar at the crease.

Earlier, inspired by Pragyan Ojha’s first-innings performance, Ashwin stole the limelight through some smart spin bowling on a treacherous Feroz Shah Kotla track where 27 wickets have gone down in the last two days.

In the process, Ashwin became the seventh Indian to begin his Test career with a five-for, and his match haul nine for 128 is also the second-best for an Indian on debut behind Narendra Hirwani’s 16 for 136, incidentally, against the same opponents, on an underprepared Chennai track back in 1988.

Ashwin, who dismissed opener Kieran Powell late yesterday evening to trigger the slide, deservingly signalled the end of the West Indies innings by having Ravi Rampaul caught at deep midwicket.

Just before Rampaul’s dismissal, the 25-year-old off-spinner from Chennai removed Darren Sammy (42) with his trademark carom ball that skidded off the wicket, hardly giving the West Indian skipper any time to get his bat down.(PTI)

Brief Scores: West Indies 304 (Shivnarine Chanderpaul 118, Kraigg Braithwaite 63; Pragyan Ojha 6 for 72, R Ashwin 3 for 81) & 180 (Shivnarine Chanderpaul 47, Darren Sammy 42, Kirk Edwards 33; R Ashwin 6 for 47, Umesh Yadav 2 for 36) lead India 209 (Virender Sehwag 55, Rahul Dravid 54; Darren Sammy 3 for 35, Ravi Rampaul 2 for 44) & 152 for 2 (Sachin Tendulkar 33*, Rahul Dravid 30*; Darren Sammy 1 for 32 ) by 124 runs.

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