Middle-order stages fight back, India 237/4

Published: Sunday, April 14, 2002, 9:17 [IST]
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On a day, which saw mixed fortunes, India progressed to 237 for four at the end of the third day of the first Test match being played at Bourda, Georgetown.

India started off the day well, wrapping up the tail for just seven runs but very quickly found itself engaging in repair work, thanks to the skipper's own foolishness. With Dasgupta perishing early, Ganguly bought himself some trouble walking in to face the new ball; making himself a sitting duck. This ensured that Tendulkar, yet again, walked in to face a relatively new ball at 21 for 2. But the champion that he is, it didn't take him long to go about piecing up a recovery act. The moment Tendulkar's at the crease it gets to be a different ball game. Soon he made one realise this indeed is a below par West Indies attack.

Playing his customary classy strokes Tendulkar in the company of Das made the dressing room feel much better. Das at the other end, though, slow did ensure that the rest of the batting did not come in to face the new ball. He eventually, did perish playing on to his stumps to hand Stanford his first Test wicket and the have India at 99 for three - Das made 33. Tendulkar, however, continued in blazing style dispatching new comer Stanford for three boundaries in an over and looked threatening. However, some tight bowling at both ends by Nagamootoo and Cuffy saw the breaks being applied.

The pair bowled extremely well choking up the runs and as a result succeeded in earning their team a prize scalp. Tendulkar trying to pull Nagamootoo was struck plumb in front to a ball that kept low - at the stroke of tea. At this stage - 144 for four, it looked like India was in for it, However Dravid and Laxman negotiated affairs out in the middle with aplomb - Laxman, in particular, was exemplary. The two put on an unfinished 93 runs for the fifth wicket and took India closer to 302 - the figure required to avoid the follow on.

Dravid was on 57 and Laxman on 46 when play was called off due to fading light. Thus, this match is keenly poised and the fourth day's play holds a lot in store for both teams. If West Indies can purchase a few early wickets, as the new ball is just five overs old, it still will be in with a good chance of enforcing the follow on. Even if the follow on is not possible if West Indies can take a sizeable lead it still will fancy its chances as there still is a lot of time left in this match.

However, India will try to do things differently and see to it that it does not end up giving a big lead. Given, history, this pair has a good chance of doing that.

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