Nagpur: V V S Laxman slammed a stylish 99 as India posted a challenging 279 for nine against the West Indies in a second One-day International marred by crowd trouble on Saturday.
India was struggling at 20 for two after being put in to bat when Laxman joined skipper Saurav Ganguly (78) to repair the damage with a 128-run stand for the third wicket. Laxman then consolidated his team's position with a 105-run stand for the fifth wicket with Rahul Dravid, who scored a 42-ball 51. Laxman, who missed his second century in One-dayers by one run, cracked seven fours in his 110-ball knock before being stumped off part-time spinner Chris Gayle. Ganguly had shown the way with his 99-ball knock, hitting nine fours to help his team seize the initiative after the early setbacks. The match was reduced to 48-overs-a-side after a delayed start due to a damp outfield. One more over was then deducted after missile-throwing spectators help up play even when the hosts were cruising along at 90 for two in 16 overs. South African match referee Mike Procter held on-field discussions with players and officials before deciding to reduce the game to 47 overs. The opening One-dayer at Jamshedpur was also marred by disturbances from the stands before the West Indies clinched a last-ball victory with four wickets to spare to gain a 1-0 lead in the seven-match series. India was on course for setting a stiff target here when their momentum was temporarily broken by the stoppage. Laxman and Ganguly, however, soon helped their team regain an upper hand with their exciting stroke-play. Ganguly's onslaught eased the pressure after hard-hitting opener Virender Sehwag (1) and pinch-hitter Ajit Agarkar (6) had fallen cheaply. Sehwag pulled Drakes's first delivery straight to Dillon at fine leg, while Agarkar chipped Dillon to Ramnaresh Sarwan at mid-on. Ganguly and Laxman bolstered the innings as they dominated the West Indies attack during their big stand. Ganguly fell in the 28th over when he lofted leg spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo to Drakes at long-on while attempting a big shot, but there was no stopping Laxman.
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