Brian Lara has admitted to have made a judgement error with regard to the pitch in St Lucia and hoped that his team could fight back from the risky position that they found themselves in. Lara felt that he’d probably got the team wrong but praised Pedro Collins for not allowing India to completely break away.
“Thinking that we played our fast bowlers, we might have fielded first anyway,” he said at the end of the day. “As I said in the start of the match, I hope it [the green on the pitch] isn’t a façade. Unfortunately, this reminds us of the previous matches that have been played here. West Indies still have to go out and bat and of course, the Indians were still six wickets in hand with a possible 500 runs on the board. But as you see, it’s turning slow, not much off the pitch for the fast bowlers and we expect to come up trumps as well with the bat.”
Hardly had Lara come to terms with the opening day, than Virender Sehwag began his arson operation. “You see the way Sehwag was batting in the first session, you’d swear it was a one-day game,” he continued. “I think he truly assessed the pitch situation very quickly and played accordingly. It was a high risk but he got away with it because the ball was not seaming much, there was not much pace off the pitch. And he went on the attack. On the first session of any Test match, you’d want to have your slips and the guys in catching positions hoping to get wickets.
“With 140 on the board at lunch, not the position we want to be in. Still curtailing them for 100 runs for each session after that was a very good effort from the guys. Wasim Jaffer didn’t do much damage. We were keeping it pretty tight to him – though majority of the strike went to Sehwag. It was a situation where we had to adapt to the way he was batting. You expect him to nick one or two before lunch and he gave a few chances.”
One of the main reasons for West Indies’ fightback was Collins’s vital strikes towards the end of the day, in the course of which he snapped up his 100th Test wicket. “It was an excellent effort by Pedro, not just today but yeoman service over the years,” Lara said. “I’m really proud of him. He put the ball in the right areas and his effort was well rewarded. Hope he comes back well tomorrow. The pitch is a batting paradise. You can see by the fact that Dravid is on 95 and at no point of time looked to be stressed out about anything.”
Lara also revealed that he would have chosen a different bowling line-up. “In hindsight, at this stage you’ll love to have a spinner, even if it’s just to turn his arm over and see what you can get. The fact is we’ve selected the team and we’ve to ensure that they get the better part of the game. We need to go out there and try and get the six wickets and get ahead of India.”