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West Indies collapse without a fight

They are a side that can give their fans immense joy. At the same time, it’s a team which can leave their followers infuriated. Alas, these days the West Indies end up providing all their backers more of the latter and the debacle at Eden Gardens yesterday once again left all their supporters shattered.

Mohammed Shami and Rohit Sharma
Mohammed Shami (left) celebrates a West Indian wicket with teammate Rohit Sharma at Eden Gardens in Kolkata yesterday

“How can they not show the appetite for a fight,” was the common refrain in the upper tier of the BC Roy Club House which seats some extremely knowledgeable fans. This frustration stemmed from the fact that these gentlemen had seen the West Indies team of a different generation who literally lorded over their opponents. But, times have changed and Darren Sammy & Co are not a patch on any of the famed Caribbean outfits.

As every sportsman avers, winning and losing are two-sides of the same coin, but what matters is the courage which a team displays in war, and that precisely was missing from the Windies arsenal in their innings and 51-run debacle yesterday. When they came into bat in the second innings after India wound up at 453, even the most pessimistic of the lot felt that the game would at least go to the fourth day. Or even better, the visitors would overhaul the 219-run deficit and ensure India batted again.

Sammy’s men obviously had other ideas and conceded the game without a fight. Opener Chris Gayle, a batsman on whom the fortune of his side largely rests these days batted like he was carving out a T20 innings and fell to an extremely poor shot against swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 33. He was in absolutely no position to pull the ball, but that’s what he attempted before getting caught by Virat Kohli behind square leg. In another age, Gayle would have paid heavily for his recklessness, but in their team of today, there’s no one who can question him.

In the post match conference, Sammy was asked whether members of his side were giving the longest format of the game a short shrift? In his trademark style, a wide grin adorning his face, Sammy replied in the negative, saying: “That’s what you feel. But we are very passionate about Test cricket. The players enjoy the format and enjoy each other’s company.” Ironically, there was little on show in the middle to back Sammy’s claim.

‘WI will fight hard’
So where does he see his team going from here? “We will obviously fight hard. That’s what we are here for. We will look at working on our shortcomings and will put up a better display in Mumbai,” he said. And that, after all, is something every fan at the Wankhede Stadium will be expecting, lest they end up doing injustice to the great Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell with another heart-wrenching display.

Scorecard

West Indies (1st innings) 234 all out
India (1st innings) (Overnight 354-6)
S Dhawan b Shillingford 23
Murali Vijay st Ramdin b Shillingford 26
C Pujara c Ramdin b Cottrell 17
S Tendulkar lbw Shillingford 10
Kohli c Powell b Shillingford 3
R Sharma lbw b Permaul 177
MS Dhoni c Ramdin b Best 42
R Ashwin b Shillingford 124
Bhuvneshwar Kumar c Gayle b Shillingford 12
Shami st Ramdin b Permaul 1
P Ojha not out 2
Extras (B 4, LB 8, W 1, NB 3) 16
Total (all out; 129.4 overs) 453
Fall of wickets 1-42, 2-57, 3-79, 4-82, 5-83, 6-156, 7-436, 8-444, 9-451
Bowling
Tino Best 17-0-71-1
Sheldon Cottrell 18-3-72-1
Shane Shillingford 55-9-167-6
V Permaul 23.4-2-67-2
Darren Sammy 12-1-52-0
M Samuels 4-0-12-0

West Indies (2nd innings)
C Gayle c Kohli b Kumar 33
K Powell lbw b Ashwin 36
D Bravo c Sharma b Ashwin..37 M Samuels lbw b Shami 4
S Chanderpaul not out 31
D Ramdin c Vijay b Shami 1
D Sammy b Shami 8
S Shillingford b Shami 0
V Permaul run out 0
T Best c Ojha b Ashwin 3
S Cottrell b Shami 5
Extras (LB 10) 10
Total (all out; 54.1 overs) 168
Fall of wickets 1-33, 2-101, 3-110, 4-120, 5-125, 6-152,
7-152, 8-152, 9-159
Bowling
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 6-1-20-1,
Mohd Shami 13.1-0-47-5,
R Ashwin 19-2-46-3,
Pragyan Ojha 13-3-27-0,
Sachin Tendulkar 3-0-18-0
India won by an innings and 51 runs 

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