Bridgetown, June 29: India evidently didn't learn from their woes on Jamaica's bouncy and lively wicket last week. It's another day and another Test, but with similar conditions prevailing at this Barbados ground, India's top-order once again caved into a fiery Windies' attack. It seems the visiting side's openers - Abhinav Mukund and Murali Vijay - have proved of themselves nothing but mere novices as they clearly aren't upto the challenge of playing the short, rising delivery.
It's this sort of baptism by fire that has these two batsman on the run... back to the pavilion. Mukund lasted all of 9 balls for his 1 run before he poked his bat out tentatively while being caught wrong-footed to a vicious delivery. It took just three balls for his bette-noir Ravi Rampaul, to dismantle him. Meanwhile, Murali Vijay, tried to bide his time, but in so doing, allowed the Windies' pacemen to dictate terms to him. The opener who can belt sixes at will on any of India's innocuous pitches, looked like a whipped puppy on this foreign strip.
But when Windies' captain Darren Sammy removed the hero of the previous Test Rahul Dravid, for a mere 5 off 21 balls, it was clear that India had run into another mine-field of a pitch. Virat Kohli, who is in the midst of an inauspicious start to his Test career, also succumbed soon.
Enter India's disaster management specialist - VVS Laxman. The middle-order stalwart is no stranger to the task of stemming the rot and turning the tables on any opposition. One again his marvelous credentials came into play, as he held up his end admirably. Perhaps his 6"2' frame is just what was required to smothering deliveries that kicked of the surface.
With a tenacious Suresh Raina for company, Laxman set about making amends for his poor showing in the last Test. His backfoot-struck fours behind point and through the covers wrested the initiative away from the Windies and put India's innings back on track.
But with so little support from the rest of the Indian line-up, the pressure ultimately bore down too heavily on Laxman as well, as he struggled to string together stands with the latter order. India thus wound up with a below par score of 201 with Laxman compiling nearly half the runs. Now one will just have to hope that this score is enough to intimidate the Windies with.