Two days into the Wankhede Test and the eventual result is a foregone conclusion. A draw seems imminent at this juncture.
India's [ Images ] strategy -- bat first and pile a huge total, thereby putting the opposition under pressure, something last seen in the second Test at the Eden Gardens -- for once?boomeranged.
The moment West Indies [ Images ] captain Darren Sammy got it right with the coin on the first morning he had no hesitation in opting to bat first. Two days later, his batsmen not only vindicated his decision, but also ensured Team India's ploy is used against them to a good effect.
At stumps on Day Two, the visitors had piled a mammoth 575 for 9, their batters making merry on a placid wicket.
Taking into account the 463 that they scored in the fourth innings at?Eden, this is the first instance in more than two years that the West Indies scored 400-plus totals in two successive innings.
Moreover, all their top six batsmen got 50-plus runs, thereby marking only the second instance in Tests -- after India had achieved the same against Australia [ Images ] in Kolkata [ Images ] back in 1998.
Darren Bravo was the biggest contributor to the West Indies' cause, registering his second straight hundred. His mammoth 166 came off 284 balls and included 17 hits to the fence.
The West Indies' effort essentially means a result is out of the question. While the visitors have ensured they won't lose this match from here on, Team India isn't exactly known for showing aggression in Test cricket.
To cite an example of the above, one need go beyond the third Test between the teams at Windsor Park this July, when India, needing 178 to win (and secure the series 2-0) preferred to play safe and settle for a draw.
For that matter, take any example of India's series wins overseas in recent times, and all instances would suggest the same -- that India has been content with 1-0 scorelines.
The hard work put in by the West Indies batsmen on the opening two days has, most certainly, increased India's wait for a whitewash against the giants-turned-minnows for a few more years, thereby saving the Caribbeans the blushes.
Resuming at their overnight score of 267 for three, Darren Bravo and Kirk Edwards (86) took the score to 314 before the latter edged an Ishant delivery to Dhoni [ Images ].
Edwards's 165-ball knock was inclusive of 13 hits to the fence. He helped Bravo put on a valuable 164 runs for the fourth wicket, thereby building on the solid foundation given to them by their openers on the opening day.
His was the lone wicket to fall in the opening session even as the visitors added 111 runs to their total.
The second session was dominated by the Caribbeans as well -- adding another 116 runs while losing only one wicket.
In the process, Bravo completed a well-deserved hundred. It was his third century in his last seven innings and his second in succession against India, following his resilient 136 in the fourth essay at the Eden Gardens.
The 22-year-old put together 160 runs for the fourth wicket with Kieran Powell (81). The latter's 149-ball innings, his second Test fifty, was inclusive of nine hits to the fence.
The duo had done enough to frustrate the Indians till a momentary lapse in concentration cost Powell his wicket, Pragyan Ojha [ Images ] having him caught behind.
Bravo and Marlons Samuels (61) put on another 44 runs for the sixth wicket before the former became Varun Aaron's first Test victim, edging one to the keeper.
Thereafter, the Indian bowlers didn't waste time in wrapping up the tail.
However, Samuels did complete his 13th Test fifty, his fourth against India, before becoming R Ashwin's fourth victim of the innings.
At stumps, Fidel Edwards [ Images ] was unbeaten on seven, and giving him company was Devendra Bishoo on two.
Ashwin was the pick of the Indian bowlers, with figures of four for 154m while debutant Aaron finished with three for 106.
Having said that, the Indian bowling was anything but impressive; the mammoth West Indies score clearly indicates that.