Roseau, July 6: After Day 1 of the third Test against the visiting Indian side, it appears the West Indies are still programmed to functioning in deja vu mode. A fresh Test and another opportunity to redeem themselves is underway, but unfortunately the same old sad story is playing out for the hosts.
One would think that the Windies would approach this encounter, which is their last chance to salvage the series, in a more positive frame of mind. But the same diffidence which has characterised much of their batting performance in the ongoing series, has re-emerged plain and clear for all to see.
The defensive prods, the excessive back-foot play and the adamant reluctance to look for the boundary defined the efforts of openers Adrian Barath and debutant Kieron Powell. Runs merely trickled out on a pitch which ostensibly favours the batsman a few notches over the bowlers.
India's new-ball pair of Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar clearly dominated the Windies top-order from the word go. Praveen bowled his medium-pacers with tact and guile, foxing Powell with a stunning delivery which swung at the last instant, forcing an edge to VVS Laxman in the slips.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Ishant was working up some magic of his own. He astutely juxtaposed the odd bouncer in between a flurry of good length balls and threw in an occasional slower ball for good measure. As twisted fortune would have it, it was a slower delivery gone wrong which tempted Barath into a fatal pull that wound up being gloved onto his leg stump.
Luck was clearly on Ishant's side when he pulled off his next scalp. A bouncer which effected the slightest of deviations from Krik Edward's helmet confused the umpire into the thinking the ball had come off his bat on the way into Dhoni's safe gloves.
Nevertheless, the onus once again falls on the weary shoulders of the Windies middle-order with Darren Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaulmocne again setting about bailing their side out of trouble...