West Indies v India, 3rd Test, St Lucia, 2nd day August 10, 2016

West Indies reply solidly to India's 353

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West Indies 107 for 1 (Brathwaite 53*) trail India 353 (Ashwin 118, Saha 104, Rahul 50, Cummins 3-54, Joseph 3-69) by 246 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Manjrekar: Heartening to see WI bowlers go for wickets

India lost their first five wickets for 126 and their last five for 14, but between the two collapses R Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha added 213 runs to save them the blushes. Ashwin scored his fourth century, all against West Indies and two in this series, and Saha attacked his way to a maiden Test century, which countered West Indies' plan to keep India from scoring freely on a slow outfield.

The day, though, belonged to West Indies, whose new opening combination of Leon Johnson and Kraigg Brathwaite followed the bowling charge with a stand greater than all their earlier opening partnerships in this series put together. Brathwaite ended the day unbeaten on 53, with West Indies still 246 behind, which could take some time coming on the slow outfield. After 234 runs on the first day, the second day produced 226 for six wickets.

India's theoretical dislike of slow scoring, and some of the selections in Virat Kohli's Test team might leave you worried for the future of old-fashioned Test batsmen, but Saha and Ashwin continued to bat for the tribe after the rescue job on day one. While Ashwin, resuming on 75, gave India the solidity, it was Saha who played with intent against a limited West Indies attack happy to play the defensive game. Saha added 58 off 105 balls to his overnight 46 even as West Indies kept it tight at the other end.

The first hour of the day replicated what happened for long periods on the opening day. West Indies stacked up one side of the field, and their strike bowlers spent their energy bowling on that side of the wicket, hoping for impatient shots from the batsmen. None of that arrived.

The intent came in the second hour with Saha taking risks and Ashwin taking only what came his way, understandable given he was approaching a hundred. Saha's effort on the second morning was a repeat of his approach on the first day: against disciplined bowling, Saha had scored 1 off the first 34 balls he faced, 8 off the first 65, and then opened up to end the opening day on 46 off 122; when he came back on Wednesday he scored just 6 off the first 31 balls he faced, but then drove Alzarri Joseph through cover for the first boundary of the day, in the 10th over of the morning.

After drinks the clear plan seemed for Saha to have a go and disrupt West Indies from their plan of taking time out of the game. Sixty-one came in the second hour as opposed to 21 in the first. Saha was at the forefront, hitting all of the first five boundaries of the day. The third of those, a slog off Roston Chase, the offspinner, took him to his personal best, 64. The fourth took the partnership to 150. In the 21st over of the morning, Ashwin cut away from his body and got his first boundary of the day, moving to 99.

Even as Ashwin stayed on 99, Saha raced away from 77 to 93 by the time the players went off for their second meal of the day. In the last over before lunch, though, Shannon Gabriel caught Saha on the bare forearm with a short ball. Saha came back with a swollen elbow, but both the batsmen duly reached their centuries with Saha becoming only the fourth India wicketkeeper to score an away century. In the seventh over after lunch, Saha went to drive a really full delivery from Alzarri Joseph, edging it through to Shane Dowrich.

Now the West Indies pace attack charged at the tail with renewed vigour. Having waited 281 balls for his first Test wicket, Miguel Cummins took three in 10 balls: Ravindra Jadeja following an angling delivery, and Ashwin and Ishant Sharma fending at awkward short balls. In between the Cummins carnage, Gabriel came back to get a much-deserved second wicket, Bhuvneshwar Kumar caught at short leg.

That the quick bowlers were making the batsmen fend pointed to some life in the pitch, but only if you banged the ball in. The India bowlers - Bhuvneshwar and Mohammed Shami with the new ball - looked to nick the batsmen out. Shami took over Cummins' poor luck; in the half hour before tea he drew an edge from Brathwaite that fell short, and one from Johnson was dropped by KL Rahul at third slip. By the time Rahul made amends with a direct hit from midwicket to run Johnson out, West Indies had put together their first fifty opening in 26 innings.

For the first time in the series Darren Bravo walked out after a good start, and batted with more assurance than earlier. Brathwaite brought out the discipline he is known for, waiting for loose balls, not minding having to run runs because of the slow outfield, breaking the monotony with a chip shot here or there, spending more than three hours at the wicket for his half-century. The closest India came to a wicket was indifferent running from Bravo and Brathwaite.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vinay on August 12, 2016, 0:13 GMT

    Vijay is one the 3 best openers in world cricket, along with Warner & Cook. And, Rahul, the KL one, looks ideal for Rahul Dravid's spot at 3. Absurd decision to drop Vijay. Absurd. Look at his record overseas. Look at his test average. Not only that, to include Rohit, the whole batting order needs to change!

  •   Sethuraman Ramgopal on August 11, 2016, 17:56 GMT

    It is clear that Virat wants to disturb this good foundation laid by MSD for his own whims and fancies since he has the backing by means of sponsors (not just due to his cricketing skills but also due to his Bollywood skills) who bring so much revenue to BCCI . Before the start of the series he mentioned that it is no more a learning curve and at this level we need performance and results but about the final day draw at Kingston (good confident showing by WI because of their understanding of this immature leader) he contradicts himself in post match conference by saying that it is a learning experience. He cannot for sure face the swing and bounce which was evident in England and he needs his openers to at least bat through a session which will never happen without Vijay or Pujara. Kohl will be exposed in some years in testing conditions outside Asia as captain & player but by when he would have achieved what he or BCCI wanted to achieve... more money...

  • AGRUVA on August 11, 2016, 17:56 GMT

    I so much wanted to see how Virat reacts under pressure against an inexperienced team, how Ashwin shows his classiness and becomes the fastest player to reach 200. Indians haven't felt any heat in this series apart from the Day 5 of 2nd Test. I wouldn't mind if West Indies wins this test from here or makes 500 declare ends in a draw but I surely want Virat and co. to get some serious practice for their home season and learn from their team selection mistakes. Hope we get some play over the weekend.

  • csowmi7 on August 11, 2016, 17:48 GMT

    Looks like this game is certainly going to end in a draw now unless one of the teams collapses and the other goes berserk and scores say 150 in a session. Judging by the way the series has gone so far doesn't look happening.

  • HDG1978 on August 11, 2016, 17:39 GMT

    OPTO_PUS could not have put his views more appropriately about Steven Smith.While among non-Indian batsmen,I rate Williamson and am waiting to see how Root fares in India and Bangladesh to pass judgement on just how good he is.Never had a very high opinion of Smith,who started his international career as a spinner on the 2009-10 OZ tour of NZ. Kohli began this WI tour with an Indian captain's 1st away double ton but India has batted only once in each Test match and has been dismissed for the first time in St Lucia. Kumble would do well to make Kohli face reality and have both Dhawan and Rohit dropped for Port-of-Spain and persist with 5 bowlers,deciding on the 3rd pacer depending upon how Ishant and Bhuvi perform,rain permitting, considering Shami and Ashwin select themselves,while Jadeja can be persisted with,after Mishra's travails in Kingston.The Indian XI in Port-of-Spain should read Vijay,Rahul,Pujara,Kohli, Rahane,Ashwin,Saha,Jadeja,Shami, Bhuvi/Ishant,Umesh(4 wickets in Antigua)

  • rk_ks on August 11, 2016, 17:31 GMT

    @USMAN AMJAD: But you didn't talk about your batting. Why is that. India went from 130/5 to 353. That's India for you. And what's your Test/ODI ranking by the way.

  • macadamnut on August 11, 2016, 17:29 GMT

    Do something Darren Sammy! But seriously Mr. Hamilton, Kieron Pollard has not played two tests or one. You must be thinking of Russell, who has played exactly one test. Calm yourself man.

  • chitrabhanu on August 11, 2016, 16:51 GMT

    Well frankly speaking, rain has totally wasted the series. Same with Bangladesh last year which might have deprived India no. 1 rank. Not saying India would have won in 2nd or 3rd test but would have taken 5 days of play with any result than any rain induced draw

  • opto_pus on August 11, 2016, 16:51 GMT

    Rohit Sharma can change a test match in one session, by normally getting out in the first session he goes to bat in for a low score when playing outside India. Another home track, flat wicket bully boy, there is allot to be admired between him and Virat Kohli whom is very similar. Virat had a great series in Australia at the start of last year 2014/2015 on completely flat pitches in Australia, even their Rohit couldn't bat because he was so useless on those pitches in Australia. We all now are seeing how good Australia really are against Sri Lanka where Steven Smith is batting like a genius.

  • Usman Amjad on August 11, 2016, 16:24 GMT

    Very bad bowling lineup indian see pakistani bowling lineup world top bowling attack current england now strugle 282/8 thats quality just have pakistan

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