Kolkata: Two things were conclusive at the end of the Kotla Test: first, this Indian side is hungry to pounce on everything to heal the wounds inflicted in England. Second, West Indies will crumble even if slight pressure is applied, as has been the case for much of the last decade. And though the focus shifts to Eden Gardens, the venue for the second Test match starting from Monday, it's these two things that will decide the result of this series and the ensuing limited-over matches.
After being down and out in the first innings in Delhi, India came out fighting in their second essay to script a comprehensive victory on a spin-friendly wicket. Where Pragyan Ojha spun the visitors out with his orthodox left-arm spin in the first innings, it was Ravichandran Ashwin who tied the opposition in knots with his offspinners and carom balls in the second.
Considering the nature of Eden's wicket, which traditionally favours spinners like most other Indian tracks, it will once again come down to the battle between the two Indian spinners and the inexperienced West Indies batsmen. The pace duo of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav may end up performing a supporting role like they did in the first Test.
Sachin Tendulkar bats during a practice session ahead of the second Test. (AP PHOTO)
As all the Indian batsmen, barring Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni, spent substantial time in the middle it's hard to see any changes in the batting department. But for Yuvraj, the next four innings, or the next two, depending upon his performance, could well decide how his Test future pans out.
With Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in the squad and Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara knocking on the door, the selectors may lose patience if the Punjab batsman doesn’t make amends this time around. As far as Dhoni is concerned, it's his leadership that has been his saving grace in the longer format.
Things may get easier if the Indian think-tank finds out ways to get rid of its nemesis Shivnarine Chanderpaul. It is expected that the Indian side comes up with a better planning to tackle the seasoned campaigner, who seems to be India's bugbear for time immemorial.
Darren Bravo, another batsman in the Windies top order, is due for runs. And considering the skills and Lara-like demeanour the Trinidadian possesses, he will be itching to get going in Kolkata.
Ravi Rampaul, despite having a good last year, could be the only causality in the West Indies camp, with the more penetrating Kemar Roach waiting in the wings.
India: Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Umesh Yadav
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Carlton Baugh, Darren Sammy, Fidel Edwards, Devendra Bishoo, Ravi Rampaul/Kemar Roach