For a side that has won six Test matches on the trot -- never mind if the opposition was Zimbabwe, Bangladesh or New Zealand — the West Indies yesterday proved that they are unbelievable on both sides of the spectrum. And when they play poorly as they did over less than three days at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, they do considerable damage to the term ‘Test cricket’.
In many ways, the opening Test of India vs West Indies was a no-contest, and unless the Caribbeans lift their game in time for the November 14-18 Test in Mumbai, Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th Test will end prematurely just like in Kolkata yesterday.
India captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, may have been a worried man over his inexperienced pace attack, but he’ll now have less reason to worry on that count because Mohammed Shami enjoys the confidence of nine West Indian scalps in Kolkata. And even if Bhuvneshwar Kumar ended up with only a couple of wickets, he can get better in Mumbai where the track is bound to assist him if India bowls first.
Much was expected from the formidable Chris Gayle, but he gave it away after getting started. Gayle can be a great entertainer on his day, but in Test cricket, he has to dig deeper into his reservoir of ability.
Shane Shillingford is an off-spinner of quality and deserved his six-for-167 success in his first Test against India. He could have served his team better had his captain Darren Sammy given him shorter spells against a team dominant against spin.
It was a poor show by West Indies yesterday. They can never possibly return to their days of glory experienced in the 1970s and 1980s, but fight all the way they can.