x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Centurion Laxman senses series win as tourists face spin challenge

The India batsman returns to Eden Gardens, Kolkata, where he has scored heavily in the past, to stroke an unbeaten 176 as the hosts declare at 631-7.

KOLKATA // VVS Laxman says he feels India are in a prime position to clinch the series with the West Indies after his latest century at Eden Gardens put the hosts in a commanding position.

Unbeaten on 73 overnight, the right-handed batsman reached his fifth century at Eden Gardens and 17th overall with a trademark on-driven boundary in the first session.

Laxman, who ended unbeaten on 176, and MS Dhoni (144) added 224 runs for the seventh wicket to enable India to declare on 631 for seven before taking two early West Indies wickets before the close.

"If we bowl in the right areas, we should win the game," Laxman said.

"It may be difficult to play spin on the last day of the game."

Laxman has always reserved his best form for Eden Gardens where he once scored a memorable 281 against Australia.

"It is always a special feeling playing at this venue," Laxman said.

"Eden Gardens is a great place to play cricket, especially with all the spectators here, even though there were not many this time. It is a good Test wicket like it should be in India."

Richie Richardson, the former West Indies captain now the manager of the visiting team, said they needed to take a leaf out of the Indian batsmen's books to save the Test.

"You have just got to bat the way India batted. It's a very good batting wicket.

"It's a flat wicket and it was always going to be difficult for the bowlers," Richardson said.

"It's not going to be easy. The Indian bowlers are going to put pressure on us but I believe we have the ammunition to go out there and bat for the next two days.

"Usually when you see such a big total you tend to think 'wow! It's going to be difficult.'

"We have to back ourselves. If two guys get stuck in and score centuries then we will able to bat ourselves into a very good position," he added.