Dravid And Laxman Boost India In Kolkata
India 346-5 (Dravid 119, Laxman 72no) v West Indies
Second Test, Kolkata, day one
Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman scripted another chapter in their remarkable careers as they forged a 140-run partnership on the opening day of the second Test against the West Indies at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Returning to the venue where they inspired India to a win after following on against Australia with a partnership of 376, Dravid's century and Laxman's unbeaten 73 helped the home side close on 346 for five.
Dravid fell for 119 when he gifted Kraigg Brathwaite an unlikely first Test wicket shortly before stumps having played an innings as fluent as any during his distinguished career, taking advantage of friendly conditions for batting by hitting nine fours and two sixes as the bowlers wilted.
Gautam Gambhir (65) also made a half-century and an expectant crowd was silenced when Sachin Tendulkar fell for 38 but the Dravid-Laxman partnership delighted the home fans once Tendulkar's latest quest for a century of international centuries was foiled.
An unchanged India won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first and enjoyed a good first hour as Gambhir and Virender Sewhag (38 in 33 balls) raced to a 66-run partnership which was ended when Sehwag was caught by Adrian Barath off Darren Sammy.
Gambhir then added 83 with Dravid for the second wicket before the left-hander was caught by Barath off Fidel Edwardsto bring Tendulkar to the crease.
The Little Master made 38 from 71 balls with five fours before spinners Devendra Bishoo and Marlon Samuels combined to remove him - Samuels taking the catch.
Dravid and Laxman then launched India to a strong position with a partnership that offered the West Indies virtually nothing and after Dravid reached a 36th Test century and Laxman a 56th half-century, it came as a huge surprise when Dravid chopped Brathwaite onto his stumps.
His evident frustration was mirrored moments later when nightwatchman Ishant Sharma immediately edged Kemar Roach - in the side in place of Ravi Rampaul - to Carlton Baugh behind the stumps as he failed to see off a rising delivery.
Dravid had faced 207 balls during his impressive knock as he confidently played the spinners and quick bowlers with equal efficiency on a pitch that offered the bowlers precious little all day and by scoring 119, he became the leading run-scorer in Tests in 2011, overtaking Ian Bell's record of 950.
Barath replaced Kieran Powell in the West Indies side, who paid tribute to the 17 people who lost their lives in a coach crash in Sammy's native Saint Lucia by wearing black armbands.
India lead the three-match series 1-0 after a five-wicket win in the opening match in Delhi.
© Cricket World 2011