The first ever Test match at the Wankhede Stadium was between India and the West Indies. The series score was two Tests all, so the Wankhede Test was also the decider. The West Indies were captained by Clive Lloyd who smashed an unbeaten 242 runs, and the West Indies went on to win that deciding Test match on the last day.
Clive Lloyd was at the Wankhede Stadium to present Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who was playing his 150th Test match, a special memento of the achievement. The former West Indies skipper, though, would not have liked what he saw of his team’s batting, and especially the irresponsible shot that the current skipper Darren Sammy played. This team seems to have little clue how to play a Test match innings.
Test cricket involves a lot of application and determination, but both these attributes were absent for the greater part of the West Indian innings. In the pre-lunch session, the West Indies looked more comfortable against the Indian new ball attack, and even though there was a fair bit of playing and missing, there did not seem to be any sense of panic.
It was when Ashwin started to turn the ball and get some bounce too, that the batsmen decided that they were going to go the aerial route. This tactic can get the odd six, but unless mixed with some good footwork, is always a risky proposition.
Pragyan Ojha hardly got a bowl in Kolkata, but here, on a pitch that had more pace and bounce than at the Eden Gardens, he was unplayable with his flat deliveries and the occasional tossed up invitation to hit. Ashwin was simply too good, and if he had had a little more luck he could have had more wickets, but he beat the bat so often and made the batsmen look so ordinary that maybe Ojha benefited as they went after him. Spin bowlers also hunt in pairs, and Ashwin and Ojha are doing that and putting India in winning positions.
For West Indies to come back in the Test, they had to get early wickets, but Sammy decided to open the bowling himself, which was a strange call when there were two others in the team who had been selected to use the new ball. Maybe the first day of the Test was not a good decision making day for the Windies skipper, though, it must be said that the field he set for Tendulkar when he came in to bat was spot on.
The ovation that ‘The Master’ got as he came down the steps, and then the guard of honour by the West Indian team, is something those who were at the ground will never forget. A few overs later they had more to remember and cheer as ‘The Master’ was leaning into the drives or moving back and punching through the off side. It was vintage Tendulkar.