In the preview to the game between India and West Indies on Sunday, it was mentioned that the Caribbean side will be a much tougher proposition at home than they were in England during the Champions Trophy. And, two games into the triseries, it is clear which team is going to enjoy the conditions most. After beating the Sri Lankans comfortably in their opening encounter, West Indies got the better of India as well, albeit with a win that required a lot more hard work. The hosts would now believe that they can go on to clinch this series.
As for India, it was their batting performance that cost them the game on Sunday. Even if one takes into consideration the fact that India got the tougher conditions to bat, on a damp pitch, there were still some loopholes in their batting, which West Indies’ bowlers exposed very well. It was always going to be interesting to observe how India perform when the in-form Shikhar Dhawan fails. That occasion arose on Sunday, and from the looks of it the signs were not too good. Dhawan’s failure was an opportunity for some of the other batsmen to put their hands up, but it wasn’t the case.
Dhawan’s partner Rohit Sharma came up with a credible half-century, but not for the first time, threw his wicket away when India desperately needed him to carry on. Sharma’s dismissal only put India in further trouble since he was the only well-set batsman out in the middle. The sooner Sharma gets over his obsession of throwing his wicket away after getting himself in, the better it will be for India. The problem with the Indian innings on the day was actually that not one of their batsmen who got in carried on to make a substantial score.
Dinesh Karthik, who has walked into this side on the basis of some strong domestic performances, yet again fell in the 20’s. Karthik must remember that there are many other talented members vying for the spot in the middle order, and thus each failure is an opportunity wasted in his case. The experienced Suresh Raina batted well, but like Sharma he also fell when India needed him desperately, in the slog overs. The loss of MS Dhoni, who also got himself injured, further hurt India, leaving them well short of a competitive total.
In spite of India’s failings, West Indies must be credited for their tight all-round bowling performance. Right from the start, Kemar Roach, Tino Best and Darren Sammy all combined very well to put India under pressure from start to end. The fact that they picked wickets at regular intervals never allowed India to get into any sort of rhythm. And while Sunil Narine didn’t make much of an impact, Marlon Samuels was surprisingly effective. West Indies themselves committed hara-kiri with the bat. But Johnson Charles did what none of the Indian batsmen could, anchor the innings. And with the tail holding its nerves, Windies got home to a deserved win.
--By A Cricket Analyst