Game on!

The West Indies managed to scrape past 300 this morning before sensationally bowling out India for just 209. Forget what I said about the Windies needing runs on the board to cope with India’s powerful middle order; the Indians look like they’re still in England! They were fortunate to start well. The openers put on 89, but the opening stand could have been broken long before it was; two edges fell short of the slips, one was dropped and Sehwag was bowled off a no-ball. This was evened out somewhat, as the first wicket was actually a bit unfortunate; Gambhir was run out backing up. After that wicket fell, however, the rest fell in a rush. Only Dravid (of course) resisted with the entire middle and lower order falling away cheaply.

India probably scored about what they deserved to score. Their strokeplay was as bad as it was in England four months ago. Sehwag played with his usual rashness and was fortunate to get to fifty, whilst Tendulkar, Laxman and Yuvraj Singh all flashed at wide deliveries and made just 31 between them. The Windies bowled decently and they maintained an attacking line, but India must now have some serious concerns about their batting. To fail in bowling conditions against the best attack in the world is one thing; to fail on a subcontinent pitch against a second rate attack is quite another.

As mentioned yesterday, India’s bowling looks a bit short as well. Today they opened the bowling with their two spinners! To be fair to Dhoni, it worked as they each picked up an early wicket, but what does it say about (and to) one’s seamers when neither of them can be trusted to open the bowling at a crucial period? India may yet win this match; it is doubtful that they will play so poorly when they come to bat again and they may not have too many to chase. Some in India must hope that they lose though. This is now a side with serious deficiencies and an overhaul looks increasingly needed. Very often the Indian board have used minor results to paper over the cracks in their side. If they lose to the West Indies, however, they may not be able to pretend all is well. A loss may be the best thing for India.

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