AR Hemant

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Somewhat of a contrarion.

Day 3 at the Wankhede

(During the course of the third Test between India and the West Indies at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai we’ll post live updates, analysis, reader comments and reactions. Please hit F5 periodically for new posts.)


Tendulkar was unbeaten on 67. Tomorrow may be the day.

Stumps, Day 3 - India 281-3 - Before individual milestones take over, the bigger picture stands as thus: India are still 110 runs from avoiding the follow-on mark. But given the docile nature of this pitch, a stalemate is the most likely outcome in Mumbai.

Tendulkar had raced to 26 off 31. The highlight shot of his innings was the uppercut for six off Fidel Edwards, immediately after Edwards beat him with a short ball first thing after lunch. But since then, Tendulkar has dragged on painfully slowly, finishing the day with 41 more runs off 102 balls.

As Sanjay Manjrekar said, "He's made too much of an issue about Bishoo."

This would hardly rate as one of Tendulkar's better knocks. But hardcore fans may disagree. They will get up early tomorrow, pack the Wankhede stands, and cheer him to his 100th hundred in international cricket.


4.25 pm - India 267-3 - Tendulkar is treading with extreme caution.

In his prime, he didn't display such circumspection against hostile bowlers like Allan Donald and Wasim Akram on tough wickets. But on this featherbed here, he's playing Bishoo like he were on a sticky wicket, facing Tiger O'Reilly, Subhash Gupte and Shane Warne rolled into one.

It never ends well for Tendulkar when he's this cautious. He's had a reprieve in Bishoo's last over when Baugh grassed an edge.

Meanwhile, VVS Laxman at the other end is picking easy singles and has moved on to a quick 26 off 33.


4.04 pm - India 250-3 and Tendulkar has moved to 55 at a rate slower than Dravid's 82.

Manish says:

"For me, there might be another SACHIN (with due respect to sachin), but there will never be another DRAVID. Epitome of patience, organization, character, solidness and selflessness. Critics may say, its because everyone wants to be Sachin, and no one wants to be like Dravid. But the truth is people cannot match the character and mindset if they can match technique. ONE & ONLY RAHUL DRAVID...Waiting for another Century from him!!! All the best RD"

Tendulkar completes his 63rd Test fifty.

3.40 pm - India 236-3 - The day's theme — batting milestones — continues. After Dravid's 13,000th run and Gambhir's 3,500th run, Tendulkar completes his 63rd Test fifty, equalling Allan Border.

It's on a flat wicket, against a less-than-threatening bowling attack, but it doesn't matter to the crowd that has packed the Wankhede in anticipation of his landmark hundred. They may have to come back tomorrow for it though.


3.30 pm - India 226-3 - There are about 28 overs left in the day. Dravid, having confidently driven a four to move to 82, has played on to Samuels.

Dravid looked confused. Maybe he was unsure about what had happened. Maybe he was shocked at getting out to a part-timer.

West Indies' top six passed fifty. India's top four have also made big starts. But where's the big, game-saving hundred?


3.20 pm - India 219-2 - Here's the list of India's top run scorers in Tests.

1 and 2 are at the crease. #3 is in the commentary box. #1 and #3 have stands named after them at the ground this game is being played on.

Normally, it would be ironic that on a day someone has completed 13,000 Test runs, the talk about be about him. But not so, if you've followed Dravid's career over the years. He's 22 short of his 37th Test hundred, but the talk everywhere is about Tendulkar's impending landmark.


2.40 pm - India 184-2 - Tanaha says:

"We do not forgets the Bhajji contribution in Indian cricket Team and India. For Australia Tour He will must be added in 15 players with Ashwin. If both play they can easily destryod Australian."


2.15 pm - India 172-2 - India have had some luck in the noon session. Early on, Dravid slipped while attempting a run, but got back just in time to avoid a run-out.

In the next over, Gambhir offered a sharp catch to first slip. Kirk Edwards moved to his left, but made a mess of it.

On the last ball of the session, Dravid nearly played on to Bishoo, but he was alert enough to kick the ball away an inch away from the stumps.

Meanwhile, Tendulkar is 20 not out. Looks like that hundred will have to wait another day.

Gambhir made 55 before a dodgy caught-behind off Rampaul.

1.30 pm - India 138-2 - Gambhir is caught behind off the pull-shot. Replays don't show any explicit signs of an edge and Gambhir looks disappointed.

Out comes Tendulkar.

12 Test innings without a hundred. 15 innings overall since that hundred against South Africa in Nagpur.

Will this be the game?


12.55 pm - India 111-1 - Cover-driving Sammy for four, Dravid has brought up his 13000th run in Tests. The only other man who's been there is padded up to bat next.

With those two veterans batting, there's a record falling or milestone being passed every series. It was in Delhi at the start of the series that Tendulkar completed 15,000 Test runs.

Do we Indians make too much of a song and dance about these milestones? or are our reactions justified considering how rarely these records had come our way in the past?

That said, there's a Test match to be saved here. Gambhir has moved to fifty by slogging Sammy to cow corner. He's had starts in all four innings this series, but he needs to go for the big score that would settle the Test.

13,000 Test runs for Dravid

11.30 am - India 74-1 at lunch - Some reactions:

@SANJAYMANJREKAR - Sammy shocks sehwag by getting him clean bowled & may be shocked himself too in the process

Prince says on Ashwin's fiver - "Harbhajan has faded now, The future of Indian bowling is Ashwin."

Meanwhile, the stands at the Wankhede are practically empty.


11.15 am - India 67-1 It's been a while since Virender Sehwag played the sort of Test innings that would take the man's legend forward.

Two years ago at the Brabourne Stadium, he made 284 runs in a day's play. The country's general productivity went for a toss, websites crashed due to the traffic spike, and everybody huddled around TV sets in anticipation of the new records Sehwag would break during the innings.

At the Wankhede Stadium this week, the pitch looks like it has been prepared with the sole intention of creating new batting records. And Sehwag didn't wait too long before starting to toy with the bowling.

He slashed Rampaul when two men had been placed to stop the aerial cut shot. He followed that up with a violent whack over extra cover for six, not off a spinner, but Darren Sammy. It's not something you'd expect so early in a Test innings.

But Sammy has now managed to dismiss him again, for the third time in four innings this series. Sammy drew him forward, cut the ball back in, and snuck it past the gap between pad and bat.

The West Indies captain held up three fingers to show what he's done. And he nearly had Dravid on zero in the same over, but the return catch came low and quick.

Ashwin gets another fiver.

10.15 am - Ravichandran Ashwin's comments yesterday caught the eye.

"You can't really expect the wicket to turn on the first day, but, yes, bounce is something that I will always be looking for, which was not happening in the last two games. This game, I definitely expected the bounce and I felt cheated in that regard," he said.

Wow.

He had troubles with the wicket. And then he ends up with five wickets.

Contrast this with Harbhajan Singh's comments last year after the Ahemdabad Test against New Zealand.

In a game where every front-line spinner — Vettori, Jeetan Patel and Ojha — had wickets to show, Harbhajan had just one scalp in 43 overs and chose the shift the blame on the wicket.

Things have changed, and the change is refreshing.

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