Lara insists players to bat for next two days

Published: Saturday, July 1, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Kingston:West Indies captain Brian Lara told his side they need to bat for the next two days after dismissing India for 200 in their first innings on the opening day of the fourth and final Test at Sabina Park.

India chose to bat first on a helpful pitch but Jerome Taylor undermined them with a career-best five wickets for 50 runs, despite a resilient, near six-hour innings of 81 from captain Rahul Dravid.

"There is so much time left in this Test and it would be great if we can bat all of Saturday and Sunday and put ourselves in a really strong position," Lara told reporters after stumps were drawn.

"If you see off the new ball, it's a run fest until the second new ball," added Lara, who felt the pitch had little to do with India's demise.

"The new ball was a major factor, the ball did something, but after 40 or 50 overs, we realised they didn't look troubled at all.

"It was the effort from the bowlers which created the position we are in. Hopefully, the pitch can ease up more but it's going to be a hard task getting them out again, so we'll have to give ourselves enough time."

Taylor has had a chequered career because of injury but has come through this series with little or no trouble and admitted his displined line was the key to his success.

He said: "My line and length was impeccable and I was in control of what I was doing.

"This pitch offered more assistance than the previous ones I've played on in the series and I tried to bowl a fuller length when the ball was swinging. "I'm stronger and fitter, both mentally and physically, but I still have a long way to go and have to keep improving."

Dravid described his knock as "one of the most challenging that I've played."

The Indian batsman hit the top score in his side's innings, after the visitors had subsided to 91 for six in mid-afternoon.

He said: "It was very satisfying and in conditions like this you've got to fight hard for runs.

"It was just a pity that I got out at the end of the day. When I look back on this one, it will give me a lot of satisfaction."

With India seeking a series victory in the Caribbean for the first time in 35 years, Dravid acknowledged the second day on Saturday will be key to his side making a charge for the win to clinch a series that is still level 0-0.

"It's not a score with which we're happy, there is no doubt about it," he added.

"It's probably a score with which we can fight, but we've got to bowl well on Saturday.

"At 91 for six, we fought back well. We've got something on the board. It's just important how well we bowl now on the second day.

"If we bowl well and can restrict West Indies to a decent score, we have the advantage of batting third and forcing them to chase a target."

The first three Tests in the series all ended in draws.

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