Johnson leaves India A in trouble
India A 202 and 57 for 4 (Tiwary 15*, Rohit 8*, Johnson 4-20) need another 163 to beat West Indies A 217 and 204 (Carter 74, Pagon 67, Darekar 6-67)
Like the first one, the second unofficial Test between West Indies A and India A in St Vincent was on its way to an exciting finish at the end of the third day. On a day of fluctuating fortunes, it was West Indies who finished on top at stumps, having reduced their opponents to 57 for 4 in a chase of 220. Left-arm seamer Delorn Johnson, who also plays for Windward Islands, picked up all those four wickets, including that of the in-form India captain Cheteshwar Pujara.
West Indies had gained a slender lead on the second day and the objective on the third would have been to set India a challenging target. However, India's bowlers pulled things back after their batsmen had faltered on the second day. India's response was led by left-arm spinner Akshay Darekar, who removed opener Kraigg Brathwaite for 21 and wicketkeeper Devon Thomas in quick succession to leave the hosts at 81 for 5. Brathwaite was caught at slip after another long stay at the crease and Thomas was trapped in front by an arm ball. But Jonathan Carter and Donovan Pagon staged a recovery.
Carter, the Barbados batsman, made 74 off 97 balls, striking six fours while Pagon was more attacking, making 67 off 72, including four sixes. That stand of 81 was brought to an end by Ashok Dinda, but Pagon and the tailenders stretched the lead to 219. Pagon, from Jamaica, has also played two Tests for West Indies. Darekar picked up six wickets.
Though India would have backed themselves to chase the target, they were left worried by the end of the day. Abhinav Mukund continued his poor run this series to be trapped in front while Ajinkya Rahane was bowled by one that kept low. Shikhar Dhawan was bowled while trying to drive and the most valuable wicket of Pujara came when he nicked an inswinging delivery to the wicketkeeper. India were reeling at 30 for 4; their situation was only marginally better when Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary added an unbeaten 27 before stumps. Johnson, deservedly, led his team off the field at the close, having left them with an excellent chance of levelling the series.