Tuesday, Sep 21, 2021

India Soaring

Jaffer's maiden double ton (212) and Dhoni's pulverizing 69 pummelled the West Indian attack into submission to notch up a mammoth 521-6, leaving the hosts needing 392 to win.

India Soaring
| AP
India Soaring

Wasim Jaffer's maiden double ton and a pulverizing half-century by Mahendra Singh Dhoni helped India set up a daunting target for the West Indies in the first Test on Monday.

After Jaffer stroked his way to a marathon 212, Dhoni pummelled the West Indian attack into submission with a powerful 69 as India seized the upper hand during the course of a dramatic fourth day's play at the Antigua Recreation Ground.

The two contrasting innings helped India, who began the second knock with a 130-run deficit, declare at a mammoth 521 for six - leaving the hosts needing 392 to win with just more than a full day's play left.

At close, the West Indies were 13 for no loss, requiring 379 more for victory.

Brian Lara's men have successfully chased a target on three of the seven occasions when they batted fourth at the ARG, the most famous of them being their world record conquest of 418 for seven against Steve Waugh's Australia in 2002-03.

Jaffer became only the third Indian to score a double century in the Caribbean as he batted for eight and half hours and faced 399 balls during his magnificent knock that contained 24 fours and a six.

Skipper Rahul Dravid made a dogged 62 from 177 balls while playing the supporting cast to Jaffer to perfection. The duo added 203 runs for the third wicket from 424 balls.

Dhoni then creamed the West Indian bowlers, smashing six sixes and four fours in a 52-ball innings that ended on a sad note, though.

The maverick batsman went after the hapless left arm spinner Dave Mohammed, collecting three consecutive sixes in an over, but his fourth was caught by Daren Ganga on the boundary ropes at square-leg.

Confusion prevailed when Lara objected to the on field umpires declaring the batsman not out following inconclusive evidence from television replays.

But before the situation could get out of hand, Dravid called a halt to the innings and Dhoni, once inside the dressing room, accepted the fielder's word, thereby his dismissal.

Mohammad Kaif remained unbeaten on 46 from 87 balls with six fours.

Jaffer and Dravid came together on Sunday afternoon and stayed put for almost a full day.

Dravid perished, attempting a slog sweep to be caught in the deep off Mohammed. Perhaps, the captain was in undue haste to give strike to Jaffer who was on 199 then.

The Mumbai batsman reached the milestone in the same over when he flicked a ball for a single towards mid-wicket.

Immediately after he reached his double century, Jaffer was claimed to have been caught by Mohammed in his follow through.

Umpire Asad Rauf referred it to the third umpire and television replays conclusively showed that the ball had hit the ground before it went up to the bowler.

The other two Indians who have scored a double century in the Caribbean are Sunil Gavaskar (220) and Navjot Singh Sidhu (201).

Jaffer departed just before the tea break when his marathon innings was ended by Ian Bradshaw, who managed to sneak one through the gate.

The Mumbai opener played several pleasing drives in the arc and and also hit some crashing straight drives which went down the ground rapidly.

Jaffer took a particular liking for chinaman bowler Mohammad whom he smashed for 11 runs in an over including a mighty six which went into the upper tier of the Andy Roberts stand at long-on.

The right-hander brought up the century stand when he crashed Dwayne Bravo into the straight hoardings. He raised his 150 by punishing Bravo, whom he drove to the cover-point boundary.

There was no real chance given by the two batsmen though once Chris Gayle tipped a fierce cut from Dravid to the third man boundary early in the day.

West Indies struggled without their strike bowler Fidel Edwards who alone could have countered the extremely slow nature of the ARG track.

Edwards, who pulled his hamstring muscle on Sunday, did not come out to bowl, reducing the bowling options for Lara.



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