If one looks at the margin of victory at Eden Gardens, the first impression one gets is that India completely dominated the Test match. For most part they did, but it is also a fact that West Indies had their moments in the game. On the opening day, their batting was steady before they collapsed in the manner they have done so often over the past decade. Then, they had India in all sorts of trouble when they bowled, before allowing the hosts to escape. Even in their second innings, West Indies looked set to make India bat again, before collapsing for the second time in the match.
In a nutshell, West Indies had their moments in the match, but failed to grab the opportunities that came their way. Their batting in particular was disappointing in the sense that a number of them go starts but failed to convert them into bigger scores. If you look at the Windies’ first innings, each of the top five got their eye in – Gayle got 18, Powell 28, Darren Bravo 23, Samuels 65 and Chanderpaul 36. What West Indies needed was for a couple of these batsmen to go on and register big hundreds. In India, once you get your eye in, it is imperative to carry on since wickets can fall in a heap.
The story in the second innings was pretty similar for West Indies. The top three batsmen all crossed 30s before losing their wickets even as Samuels failed. Chanderpaul remained unbeaten, but did not get any support from the lower order. He trusted his partners at the other end, but they kept falling one after the other. In the wake of the batting collapse, Chanderpaul would have been forced to wonder whether he could have maneuvered the strike better. It will be interesting to see how Chanderpaul bats in Mumbai, his 150 Test.
Like with the bat, West Indies missed a great opportunity with the ball as well. They had India reeling with half the side back in the pavilion before the score crossed 100. But, they just could not find a way to get past Rohit Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin. The duo did what the West Indies batsmen failed at, applying themselves at the crease for a long duration. In India, if you stick at the crease, the runs will come at a fair pace, this is what Windies’ batsmen can learn from India. Better application at Mumbai is a must for the visitors to do well.
Among the few positives for the visitors from the embarrassment at Kolkata was the performance of Shane Shillingford. The off-spinner troubled India’s top and middle order with his bounce and variations as well. But, skipper Darren Sammy allowed the Indian batsmen to have a good look at him by bowling him almost unchanged. It took Rohit and Ashwin a while to get on top of the spinner, but they eventually did, and after that there was no looking back for the Indians. All said and done, West Indies will need to show drastic improvements at Mumbai to avoid another disaster.
--By A Cricket Analyst