Dhoni and Laxman put India in charge

West Indies face massive run chase after V.V.S. Laxman and Mahendra Singh Dhoni both make centuries on day two.

    India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (R) and V.V.S. Laxman (L) were the men in charge on second day [AFP]

    Centuries from V.V.S. Laxman and Mahendra Singh Dhoni put India firmly in control of the second Test against the West Indies after two days.

    Laxman (176 not out) and Dhoni (144) added 224 runs for the seventh wicket before India declared their first innings at 631-7 just after tea on Tuesday.

    India then reduced the West Indies to 34-2 when bad light forced an early close of play.

    West Indies trails by 597 runs with eight wickets in hand after losing both openers cheaply. Pace bowler Umesh Yadav dismissed Adrian Barath (1) with the total at three and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin removed Kraig Brathwaite (17) to have the visitors reeling at 30-2.

    India, looking to clinch the three-match series after winning the opening Test by five wickets, were ensured a huge total due to the seventh-wicket partnership dominated by Dhoni.

    The first-innings total was the second-highest score for India against the West Indies, only 13 short of its record 644-7 declared at Kanpur in 1979.

    Dhoni scored 116 of his runs in the second session and his 175-ball innings contained 10 boundaries and five sixes - including two in one over from Kraigg Braithwaite. Laxman stroked 12 fours and faced 280 balls.

    Dhoni reached his century with a single to long-off from Braithwaite, his fifth Test hundred and the first in 21 months since a 132 not out against South Africa at the same venue in February 2010.

    Dhoni showed his intent to speed up the run-rate as he often stepped out to both pace bowlers and spinners.

    But he benefited twice from no balls, getting reprieves against Roach.

    Roach had him caught by wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh attempting a drive on 13, and again as the batsman slashed at a good-length delivery when on 16.

    Hat-trick of triples

    Dhoni was finally caught by Baugh off Roach late in the day when he edged a ball pitched around the off stump.

    Dhoni became the third century-maker for India in the innings after Rahul Dravid (119) and Laxman, who reached triple figures in the first session.

    It was Laxman's fifth century at the venue, equaling former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin's record for the most centuries by a batsman at the Eden Gardens.

    Laxman, who resumed on 73 in an overnight total of 346-5, saw off the early threat of the second new ball and completed his century with a four off pace bowler Darren Sammy.

    Laxman, who had put on 140 for the fourth wicket with Dravid, continued with Dhoni and played some fine shots on either side of the wicket.

    India lost the wicket of Yuvraj Singh in the first session when he was trapped lbw by Sammy for 25 with a delivery that came in sharply and rapped his pads.

    Yuvraj, who was instrumental in India winning this year's World Cup, struggled against the seaming ball and failed to build his case for a permanent spot in the Test squad.

    The third and final Test will be played in Mumbai from November 22 to 26.



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