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Windies have a mountain to climb after Dhoni, VVS tons

Source: PTI
Last updated on: November 15, 2011 17:13 IST
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VVS Laxman's love affair with the Eden Gardens continued with an unbeaten 176, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni also slammed a century, as India buried a hapless West Indies under a mountain of runs to take complete control of the second cricket Test in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Laxman produced yet another classy knock at his favorite ground, where he averages an astounding 110, while Dhoni struck a belligerent 144 (175b, 10x4, 5x6) to register his first century in 21 months, as India declared their first innings at a colossal 631 for 7 in the post-tea session.

- Scorecard | Photos

The hosts then dismissed both the West Indies openers, reducing the visitors to a shaky 34 for 2, before bad light forced the second day's play to be called off 50 minutes early.

The West Indies trail by 597 runs.

Mahendra Singh DhoniLaxman and Dhoni stitched 224 runs together for the seventh wicket in an alliance that put India in complete command on what looked a good batting track.

Such was the batting domination by India that the hosts had one two-hundred plus, one-hundred plus and four half-century partnerships with Laxman in the middle in three of them.

The Indian bowlers did well to claim early wickets, Umesh Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin taking one each.

Yadav provided the breakthrough when he had the wicket of comeback-man Adrian Barath (1), caught at second slip by Virender Sehwag, in the second over. West Indies 3-1.

Newly-married R Ashwin dismissed the other opener, Kraigg Brathwaite (17), in the 12th over of the West Indies innings, which turned out to be the last because of bad light.

Play will start half an hour early on Wednesday, Day 3.

Riding on Dhoni's knock, India scored a quickfire 180 runs before tea to cruise past 600 in the most fruitful second session of two hours and ten minutes, something that helped them consolidate their position.

The batting-friendly Eden strip again witnessed a feast of runs by India, who got past the 600-barrier for the first time after 14 months.

The last time India got past 600 was in July 2010, when they had scored 707 against Sri Lanka in a drawn Test in Colombo.

The same year, in an earlier series against South Africa, India declared at 657 for seven at the same venue to win, the match seeing seven batsmen score centuries including two by Hashim Amla.

Incidentally, Dhoni's last century also came in the same match at the same venue 21 months ago.

After being lucky on 13 and 16, when he edged twice to Kemar Roach but only off no-balls, Dhoni was never in any trouble. He was particularly ruthless on Brathwaite, hitting the part-time off-spinner for two sixes and a boundary, to garner 19 runs from same over.

He reached his fifth Test century by driving a full toss to long-off from Brathwaite, something that brought an end to the long drought.

There were several new records in the match as Laxman continued his tryst at the Eden. Besides equalling Mohammadad Azharuddin's Eden record of five centuries at the same venue, Laxman, who averages an

astounding 110-plus at Eden, also surpassed West Indian great Sir

Viv Richards in the Test runs aggregate.

When on 154, Laxman eclipsed Richards (8540) in the standings, led by the Indian duo of Sachin Tendulkar (15,086) and followed by Rahul Dravid (12,979). Laxman now has 8563 Test runs that includes an incredible 1217 at Eden.

It was a frustrating day for the West Indies bowlers, who struggled with just one regular spinner in leggie Devendra Bishoo. With Dhoni in full flow, part-time spinners Brathwaite and Marlon Samuels only made the task easier.

Dhoni got out in the first over after tea when he had another expansive cut of Roach but this time it was not a no-ball and wicketkeeper Baugh made no mistake with the regulation catch.

India declared 3.2 overs after tea.

Earlier, resuming at 346 for five, India began with equal flair, as Yuvraj Singh begun with a boundary at point region from the very first ball he faced on a hazy and humid morning.

While Yuvraj was looking to take chances, scoring more than a run-a-ball, Laxman's silken touch did the talking.

In full flow, Laxman had a bit of luck on his side as well even as new ball bowlers Roach and Edwards had a tough grind.

While on 79, Laxman had a thick inside edge from a short Roach delivery but the ball beat the stumps and wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh and went for boundary.

Yuvraj too had hits and misses and had a big appeal off Edwards but with the ball missing the leg stump line he remained unhurt.

His reckless-looking innings was, however, cut short by Sammy, who had the stylish left-hander plumb before the wicket.

The Punjab batsman had the perfect platform given by Monday's centurion Rahul Dravid and Laxman but failed to utilise the opportunity to establish himself.

Dense fog accompanied by a light drizzle meant that the first-session was curtailed by 19 minutes because of poor visibility.

Laxman remained unaffected by Yuvraj's restless innings as he notched his fifth hundred at the Eden, reaching the landmark in 157 balls with nine boundaries.

Dhoni joined Laxman in the middle and the duo took the match away from the West Indians.

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