Kohli Playing his 500th match:
Virat Kohli showed in Dominica that he can score even without finding the middle of the bat too often. He struggled in the first Test but managed to score 76 runs on a pitch that offered little help to the batsmen. That experience in Dominica proved valuable as Kohli rescued India from a tricky situation on the first day of the second Test against the West Indies in Port of Spain, Trinidad on Thursday. After a century opening partnership, India stumbled to 182/4 at tea. However, Kohli (87 batting) found a reliable partner in Ravindra Jadeja (36 batting) to prevent further setbacks as India ended the day at 288/4. Their unbroken fifth-wicket stand has already produced 106 runs.
It can now be safely said that the difference between the two teams in this series transcends playing conditions. The real disparity lies in the discipline and execution of basic skills required at the top level, especially when it matters the most. The hosts finally made a comeback in the second session with four wickets, but by then, India had already set the tempo of the second Test. The tourists had already scored more runs than the home team managed in their first two innings of the series. Rohit Sharma fell short of his century by 20 runs, and Yashasvi Jaiswal scored a fifty to propel India forward. However, India will be concerned about the form of Ajinkya Rahane and Shubman Gill as both were dismissed cheaply.In spite of a dominant middle session, the West Indies couldn’t manage to break through the Indian batting lineup any further, ultimately conceding the day’s honors to Rohit & Co.
Kohli will undoubtedly receive praise for his solid rebuilding efforts, but we must not undermine Jadeja’s role. The all-rounder comes to the rescue in such situations so frequently that it hardly surprises anyone anymore.
A Familiar Story:-
If the West Indies played right into the visitors’ hands by preparing a dry and dusty pitch in Dominica, the surface in Trinidad was expected to favor their fast bowlers. Kraigg Brathwaite won the toss and hoped that the Queen’s Park Oval track would offer early life and movement to bring some joy, but the required length and line were missing. “In the opening moment of the Test match, Kemar Roach bowled a short and wide delivery, and debut centurion Jaiswal effortlessly guided it through the offside for a boundary.” The hosts’ lackadaisical approach at the beginning of the 100th India-West Indies Test carried on throughout the first session.
The bowlers mixed up their deliveries with a combination of short balls, followed by occasional half-volleys and even a few full tosses. However, their lines were frequently too wide to entice the batsmen into playing, and as a consequence, the initial advantage in the pitch quickly faded away without any fruitful result. Jaiswal got two chances, one was a high chance over a leaping gully off a fierce slash, and the other was a straightforward chance to Alick Athanaze off Jason Holder on the penultimate delivery before lunch.
Main culprits for Windies in 1St Session:-
Having been dismissed for 150 and 130 runs and suffering a home Test defeat in just three days, despite winning the toss, it might have appeared that the West Indies had no option but to move upward from that point. But it didn’t appear to be the case, judging by their lackluster approach at the start of the 100th India-West Indies Test. The occasional delivery troubled Jaiswal and Rohit Sharma, but the good balls were often followed by inaccuracies that let the openers off the hook. Roach and Alzarri Joseph were the main culprits, prompting Brathwaite to introduce the returning Shannon Gabriel pretty quickly. Unfortunately, he didn’t provide much improvement, and Jomel Warrican, the lone specialist spinner in the XI, came on after nine overs.
Windies Captain’s Brathwaite Defensive Approach:-
The left-arm spinner provided some semblance of control, but the 50-run mark was reached in just 10.4 overs, forcing Brathwaite to adopt a defensive approach rather swiftly. Jaiswal played with the confidence of a batsman coming off a century in his previous innings and was quickly into his shots. The pitch wasn’t quick enough for the pacers to test the batsmen’s techniques, and one such delivery was pulled with ease over deep midwicket for a six. Soon, he started advancing down the pitch to the seamers. The left-hander isn’t the most secure outside off-stump, especially when the ball is angled across him, and the West Indians tried to exploit this weakness, encouraging him to play his shots in that region. However, that tactic didn’t work in the first session as Jaiswal completed his fifty in only 49 balls, and the pair achieved their second successive century partnership in as many outings.
The score of 121 without any loss at lunch clearly suggested that Brathwaite’s choice at the toss didn’t yield the desired results. However, the West Indies showed significant improvement during the second session, despite Gabriel occasionally overstepping the bowling crease. Holder continued to angle deliveries across Jaiswal, and the 21-year-old eventually succumbed, edging one behind the wicket off Roach. Gill, who moved down to No.3 to accommodate Jaiswal at the top of the order, began pushing at deliveries outside off-stump, Inevitably, he found himself edging one behind the wicket off Roach soon after.
Rohit sharma’s form:-
Meanwhile, Rohit at the other end wasn’t at his fluent best but managed to keep the bowlers at bay. He and fellow veteran Kohli, playing his 500th international game, then decided to be cautious and avoid any unnecessary risks. However, Kohli was dismissed on 80 by a peach of a delivery from Warrican, which spun past his outside edge to rattle the off-stump. Warrican might not be listed among the best contemporary spinners, but his consistency makes him a dependable bowler for his captain, and he can get good players out if he gets some purchase off the surface.
Rohit’s departure brought the under-pressure Rahane to the crease, with the match poised much more evenly than it was at any stage in Dominica. Rahane, perhaps playing for his place in the side, was understandably cautious, trying to survive the rest of the session alongside Kohli. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for the Mumbaikar, as Gabriel bowled an in-dipper to castle him on the stroke of tea, with Rahane managing just 8 runs. After scoring only three runs in the previous game, Rahane will be hoping for a second innings in Trinidad to possibly salvage his Test career.
Kohli, who was also scratchy during his innings in Dominica, surviving at least two chances, took 20 dot balls before he finally managed to score with a straight drive off Joseph, followed by a vintage cover drive for a boundary. Undoubtedly, it was the best session the home team had enjoyed thus far in the series, but they failed to capitalize on it after tea.
Click here for other sports news.