Jason Holder’s plans of employing spinners for a good amount of time today would be a serious topic of discussion as it didn’t really help the cause as India romped home to 264/5 at stumps. However, Rahkeem Cornwall’s deceptive flight and turn had to be the best revelation of the day.
Cornwall’s deceptive turn takes the cake in Jamaica
It was a dull atmosphere but the sweet northern breeze of Jamaica made the Sabina Park a place any cricket fan would die to be a, notwithstanding the quality of cricket on offer. The green track was the cherry on the cake as it gave the fans hope that it would be an enthralling day of cricket when Windies skipper Jason Holder put India to bat. However, a spinner, that too a spinner of Rahkeem Cornwall’s stature - who didn’t have a run-up in the truest sense - was the one to get the better of Great Indian Test wall - Cheteshwar Pujara but what strikes the chord is his persistence.
On a wicket which seemed like a swing bowler’s paradise, Cornwall instantly became the darling of the Windies team on debut as his sharp turn and flight that he induces thanks to his tall stature confused the batsmen big-time, and ended up being deceptive on full. Most of the balls he landed was on full and good length area, and with him releasing the ball almost on the line of the crease, with the broadcaster showing his release point as 2.43 meter, and that allowed him space to trouble the Indians.
His set-up against Pujara talks about how persistence pays off in Test cricket. By the time he got the better of Pujara, he had already bowled 16 balls to him but not a single one landed behind the good length area. However, he dipped the 17th one, and as the India No.3 rocked back and sliced it straight to the man at backward point, India were two down in no time. It was his sticky turn that dictated the course and Cornwall took the full benefit of it.
Pant has it in him to be a proper Test batsman. Persist with him.
The first thing that comes to mind when you picture him in your head is a batsman of enormous capability but one who throws away his wicket for no reason at all. Even in the last Test, a nothing ball outside the off-stump by Kemar Roach saw Pant choosing to poke against it, only to be gobbled up by Jason Holder at slip. However, Pant showed a side to his batsmanship which proved why he is so hyped in Test cricket, so early in his career.
When Virat Kohli was dismissed for 76, Pant had the opportunity to go for a cautious approach and played a big knock. With Hanuma Vihari doing the patient vigil, it would have been alright for him to go for a few careless ones as well, but Pant showed his maturity to prod along for an unbeaten 27 off 64. More than anything else, it was a knock that typifies a simple thing - stereotyping a once-in-a-generation player like Pant wouldn’t do any good for his career, and if he can get a wing to fly, he will learn.
Why would you go defensive so early, Jason?
The wicket had grass and was actually producing more bounce than the first Test in Antigua. If Windies needed any more validation of the wicket’s vast potential for the pacers, skipper Jason Holder had the major say in it, grabbing for two early wickets by himself. The one that dismissed KL Rahul also had a soft touch on it and it was really surprising that Holder didn’t do enough to bring the pacers into the play.
Picture this. The early moisture on the surface meant there was some purchase for the pacers. However, when Shannon Gabriel went back to the dressing room after bowling just three overs upfront, Windies lost one dimension suddenly and had to contain with whatever they had been left with. It was not a heavily difficult scenario but Holder instantly went on the defensive. Instead of asking Kemar Roach to continue from one end, while he would manage the other, Holder handed over the entire charge to Cornwall and Roston Chase.
That eventually meant Virat Kohli found the proceedings easy for him, and nothing could really be problematic for them on the green surface. The Duke’s was still holding up on the surface but the freshness provided them less drift as it should have been. That eventually played to the Indians hand who added runs by tickle before winning the mini battles along the way. Had Holder been a bit more structured in his approach and not gone defensive so early in the game, it would have been really beneficial for the team.
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