Shillingford runs through Indian middle order

Kolkata, Nov 7 (IANS): The West Indies fought back Thursday as spinner Shane Shillingford ran through the Indian middle order, picking up four wickets on a crumbling surface on day two of their first cricket Test at the Eden Gardens here.

The thin crowd, which punctured tall claims from the organisers of a full house in Sachin Tendulkar’s swansong match at the iconic venue, also had a heartbreak with the little master (10) departing cheaply, albeit to a contentious decision.

At lunch, India were 120/5 with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (21) and debutant Rohit Sharma (16) at the crease.

Resuming at 37/0, the Indians lost five wickets during the session and were still 114 adrift of the visitors’ first innings total of 234.

Shiilingford turned the hero for the tourists snaring Indian batsmen like Shikhar Dhawan (23), Murali Vijay (26), Tendulkar and Virat Kohli (3) to claim figures of 17-4-53-4 on a track gradually becoming more and more difficult for the batsmen.

Shillingford also completed 50 scalps in his 11th Test when he got his second wicket.

West Indies skipper Darren Sammy opened the attack with Shillingford and stocky pacer Tino Best. In the very third over, Dhawan had almost lobbed back the ball to Shillingford as it landed a few inches short of the bowler’s reach.

But it was curtains for the batsman in the very next delivery as Dhawan chopped back the ball on to his stumps.

India lost their second wicket in the day’s ninth over as Shillingford enticed Vijay with a tossed up delivery, which beat the wood and Denesh Ramdin did the needful behind the stumps with the batsman out of the crease.

Unusual for a home side, the fall of the wicket ignited applause. It was 9.39 a.m. and Tendulkar made his way amid a standing ovation from the crowd.

But India suffered another setback as debut pacer Sheldon Cottrell bowled one short. Cheteshwar Pujara (17) trie to loft over the wicketkeeper but the edge was gleefully accepted by Ramdin.

The big wicket of Tendulkar fell to a debatable decision. Shillinford bowled a doosra, which pitched on the middle, straightened, eluded an outside edge from Tendulkar’s defensive bat and hit the back pad high.

Umpire Nigel Llong of England raised the index finger as a pin-drop silence descended on the stadium. Replays showed the ball striking the pad quite high and could have gone over the stumps.

Tendulkar faced 21 balls during his 41-minute stay. The memorable part were two exquisite fours through deep mid wicket of Shllingford in the bowler’s sixth over. The first was in fact the day’s number one boundary.

There was more jolt for the home side as Kohli (3) played forward to an off-break and inside edged on to his pads for Kieran Powell to take the catch.


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