If India are indeed bullish about their chances after the first day’s play of the second Test in Green Park, Kanpur, it was the manner in which the openers led the way.
Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag set the platform. All India had to do post tea was carry on the good work. By that time, Sri Lankan team was low on morale, given that their three spin attack failed to yield wickets on day one and the rampant batting of India’s openers had worn them down.
Gambhir once again stumbled en route to a double century, falling for 167 after a sterling second wicket partnership of 137 runs with Rahul Dravid. But Dravid found an able mate in Sachin Tendulkar to take India safely to stumps on 417 for two.
On a day of near perfect batting, India had the impetus of Sehwag’s scoring, the continuance of Gambhir and the stability of Dravid (batting on eighty-five runs) and the promise of much more with Tendulkar at the crease.
If the first day of the first Test in Ahmedabad marked the maximum runs scored in a day, it had a different story to tell altogether after the innings was resurrected on Dravid’s shoulders. Here, it was a case of Indian batting being in complete command, albeit on a pitch that did not hold demons, and it was another pulverizing day for bowlers on this tour. If India can continue in this fashion, the degree of duress on the Sri Lankans will become strong enough for the Indian bowlers to actually have a freer hand in getting in their overs. India will require that cushion given that Amit Mishra has given way to Pragyan Ojha and Sreesanth is making a comeback.
The onus will lay firmly in India’s hand and Gambhir realizes that when he states that India will eye the 700 mark so as not to bat again but set up a formidable scenario of pressure on the visitors, who have not been able to lift themselves since the morning’s assault.
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Sangakkara Magnanimous For Tendulkar