West Indies v India, 3rd Test, St Lucia, 4th day August 12, 2016

Bhuvneshwar swings through West Indies to give India shot at win

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India 353 and 157 for 3 (Rahane 51*) lead West Indies 225 (Brathwaite 64, Bhuvneshwar 5-33) by 285 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Manjrekar: 'Bizarre tactics from West Indies to not try to get wickets'

Despite a rained-out day and the slow rate of scoring in the first two innings, India entertained thoughts of winning the St Lucia Test thanks to a masterful spell of swing bowling from Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Playing his first Test in a year and a half, Bhuvneshwar swung through the West Indies side with a spell of 11.4-6-16-5 as West Indies went from 202 for 3 to 225 all out.

With 98 overs to go in the match and a lead of 285 in the bag, India could think of declaring soon on the fifth morning. They made a good start to the endeavour, scoring 157 for 3 in the 39 overs they got on day four, a rate well higher than the 2.48 an over in the first two innings.

Bhuvneshwar, and for that matter Ravindra Jadeja, is not Virat Kohli's first choice. He prefers Umesh Yadav's pace and Amit Mishra's legspin. Post lunch on day four, with West Indies going fairly well in their quest to ensure they don't lose this Test, it was Bhuvneshwar and Jadeja who turned the match around with the second new ball.

There's a reason why Bhuvneshwar was Kohli's last resort. He bowled the entire match-changing spell without a fine leg. No fine leg, no long leg, no backward square leg. No man behind square on the leg side. Kohli prefers his wickets with batsmen fending at express quicks. It was a sign that the young captain is not stubborn in that he first selected Bhuvneshwar and then gave him the field that works with his bowling. Bhuvneshwar was about to show him the other way of taking wickets.

Kohli had taken the new ball as soon as it became available just before lunch despite the struggles of Jermaine Blackwood and Marlon Samuels against the turning old ball. It was a session in which an India bowler took a wicket for the first time in 528 legal deliveries. If the last wicket off a bowler shouldn't have been given out - Shane Dowrich on the last day in Jamaica - the legality of this 528th delivery was in doubt. It was an Ishant Sharma bouncer that Darren Bravo top-edged after taking his eyes off, but Ishant didn't quite seem to have a part of his foot behind the crease. It wasn't an obvious no-ball, though, and after multiple replays the third umpire ruled in favour of the bowler, perhaps acting on the new ICC directive to grant the benefit of doubt to the bowler.

R Ashwin went on to get the other overnight batsman, Kraigg Brathwaite, and the two spinners had Samuels and Blackwood uncomfortable. Kohli took the new ball and handed it over to Bhuvneshwar. The batsmen had added 59 before lunch, they can both punish errors in line, but through the spell Bhuvneshwar conceded only two shots to fine leg. Blackwood was the first one to go, having faced 15 straight dots from Bhuvneshwar, who bowled a length fuller than he did with the first new ball. The 16th was an outswinger that Blackwood, who loves bat on ball, couldn't resist. Kohli took one of the more predictable edges at second slip.

It took less persistence to set Samuels, 48, up. With Blackwood facing the Bhuvneshwar swing almost exclusively, it was only during the 10th over with the new ball that Samuels was presented to Bhuvneshwar. This time Bhuvneshwar was in no mood for slow cooking. Four outswingers later, he went wide on the crease, slipped in an inswinger, and Samuels, surprised by it all, played on.

Kohli brought Jadeja on at the other end, and he kept creating trouble with the ones that went straight on. The one that turned, though, got the man who had denied India in Jamaica, Roston Chase. Bhuvneshwar's masterclass continued at the other end. Jason Holder was caught on the back foot by one that angled in, and Alzarri Joseph followed a straight ball outside off.

With a remarkable five-for in sight, Bhuvneshwar's persistence was thoroughly tested by his fielders. There were signs he was tiring - the second ball of the 10th over was short and pulled for four, reducing the spell analysis to 9.2-6-11-4 - but he still produced the edge from Shane Dowrich. KL Rahul dropped his second chance of the match at third slip, but it took the third umpire to ascertain it that he had grassed it. In his next over, Bhuvneshwar was offered what should have been his through an ill-advised pull from Dowrich. Rohit Sharma, though, dropped a relatively easy catch at midwicket; he suggested he had lost the ball in the sun. Later in that over Bhuvneshwar was denied a pretty straightforward lbw by the umpire; Miguel Cummins was the beneficiary this time.

A change in bowling at the other end worked. R Ashwin ended this frustrating 6.5-over partnership, and Bhuvneshwar bowled another over to complete his third Test five-for. This was one of his least impressive wickets; in this over he had even conceded a boundary to fine leg. Two balls later Dowrich saw one short and wide, edged the cut, and this time Shikhar Dhawan nearly dropped it at first slip. Dhawan took the rebound, drawing hardly a reaction from Bhuvneshwar.

India had wasted about 40 minutes through some ordinary fielding, but the first culprit, Rahul, went about making up for that time in earnest. His 28 off 24 gave India a run rate of higher than six, but with the subsequent fall of Kohli and Dhawan meant Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma had to be cautious at the start of their partnership. They scored only 16 in the first nine overs of their stand as West Indies made no bones about trying to slow India down through containment and not wickets. Roston Chase and Kraigg Brathwaite bowled 19 overs between them after the pace bowlers had travelled.

Rahane and Rohit made up for the slow start, ending the day with 51 off 93 and 41 off 57, but the time wasted through dropped catches and the mid-innings slowdown could just end up costing India a five-six over burst with the second new ball on day five.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Speak on August 13, 2016, 18:49 GMT

    I humbly eat my words. This West Indies side lacks fire in their bellies. One might remember West Indies last day victories vs England in the whitewash series,the 1 run victory vs oz in oz and the victory vs sa in Barbados at their re entry to international cricket. Jason. Holder made a grand total of 3 runs in 2 innings and failed to get a wicket in this match. What is he? Is he a non playing captain? Is he there for his "cricketing brains"? Like D. Sammy he should make way and let someone else captain the side.

  • SHREYA12 on August 13, 2016, 18:08 GMT

    Today a clarification was made on the rule for no ball (regarding Bravo's wicket to Ishant in the first innings). The rule apparently says If any part of the foot is behind the crease (including the whole foot, not just the botton of the foot), it is a legal delivery! Who knew? Gavaskar said they need to clarify that a bit more when Bishop brought that up.

  • mkm6170306236 on August 13, 2016, 14:34 GMT

    Rohit bashers don't miss any chance to criticise him. Rohit was out on second ball due to an umpire's bad decision. An inside edge was there but he had given LBW. Anyway he played well. Hope india may win this game.

  • Tahir on August 13, 2016, 14:32 GMT

    Highly defensive approach by the flag bearer of aggression and generally by Indian cricket establishment. They kept on batting despite knowing WI have very ordinary batting. India should have shown confidence in their bowling which would have been a booster for their bowlers. A "not out" for Rohit may have been a confidence booster but now he reads "out on overnight score". Cummins kept increasing his tally of wickets and had India not declared would have got a 10-for. Again Rahane surviving better than the others and others have to do soul searching as it was only WI.

  • ManeshT on August 13, 2016, 13:57 GMT

    Another umpiring error! How did that no ball get missed?!!

  • ayushm0857496 on August 13, 2016, 13:56 GMT

    Another horrible decision from long big no ball . icc shd ban him from umpiring in test matches

  • Paul on August 13, 2016, 13:55 GMT

    India need to play attacking cricket and set a total around 340 with 87 overs left in day then they can bowl out windies to win match.

  • Virat on August 13, 2016, 13:51 GMT

    I think Rohit should focus on spin bowling and improve his bowling skills and occupy the place of Jadeja..rohit will be good option as no. 7 and can play freely as T20

  • Virat on August 13, 2016, 13:44 GMT

    @JOSE...P .... So on the second ball of the day Rohit completes the Hurricane Century

  • Sunny on August 13, 2016, 13:38 GMT

    @FOUR-REAL-QUICKS that supposed error was not a factor to the match situation at end of the day. Braithwaite got out soon and the collapse 20 overs later is what changed the game. putting a spin on it will not change the fact. Bravo ws actually was playing the slowest innings of the series by any batter. could not even put Jadeja away.

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