North Sound (Antigua), Jul 23 (PTI) Pacer Mohammed Shami picked up the crucial wicket of Darren Bravo just before lunch to peg West Indies back on day three of the first cricket Test here on Saturday.
The hosts reached 90 for three at lunch, still trailing by 476 runs in reply to India’s mammoth first innings total of 566 for eight declared.
At the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Kraigg Brathwaite (46 batting) defied the Indian bowlers along with Devendra Bishoo (12), as the duo put on 38 for the second wicket but more importantly frustrated the visitors by batting out 17.5 overs.
Starting at their overnight score of 31/1, Bishoo looked to stay with his partner for as long as possible, and he was successful in achieving that goal. He frustrated the Indian bowlers for nearly 70 minutes, and in this interim, saw off the likes of Ishant Sharma (0-24), Umesh Yadav (0-12) and Shami (2-23) without much discomfort.
Part of it had to do with the fact that the Indian pacers were guilty of bowling too short, especially to the night watchman. Ishant as the leader of the attack was a disappointment in particular in this scenario as skipper Virat Kohli looked at him twice to bring about a dismissal. Shami was the one who troubled Bishoo the most, but couldn’t induce an edge despite going past the bat on many occasions.
At the other end, Brathwaite was happy to leave as many deliveries as possible, and he was helped by the wide deliveries bowled at him by the Indian pacers. When the spin came on, he looked to attack R Ashwin (0-22) and didn’t allow the lead spinner to settle down at all, hitting him for boundaries in successive overs.
While only 29 runs had come in the first hour of play, the 50-mark for the West Indies had come up in the 24th over of the innings. Then the breakthrough finally came as Mishra (1-7) was introduced into the attack, and Bishoo was stumped going for a sweep shot.
Bravo (11) then came to the crease, and he looked solid there albeit only for a short while. Kohli changing around his bowlers too quickly perhaps helped him in this endeavour, particularly the pacers who all bowled short spells from the Sir Curtly Ambrose End. Ishant and Umesh were taken off after one and two over spells respectively, and then Shami came on to bowl. It seemed as if Bravo would be able to take the West Indies to lunch without any further loss, but he played at an outswinging delivery that he didn’t really need to, and ended up edging behind to keeper Wriddhiman Saha. Marlon Samuels was the other unbeaten batsman at the crease then, heading into the lunch break, but he was yet to get off the mark.
Earlier, Virat Kohli became the first Indian captain to score a double century abroad as the visitors took firm control of the first Test against the West Indies with a solid batting display here.
Kohli (200 off 283 balls) eased to his maiden double hundred before Ashwin (113 off 253) struck his third Test ton to help India amassed 566 for eight declared, and then reduce the West Indies to 31 for one in 16 overs at the end of the second day’s play. Kohli is now tied with Mohammad Azharuddin for most centuries (5) by an Indian captain abroad.
With India declaring post tea, pacer Mohammad Shami, who is back in action after a long layoff, removed Rajendra Chandrika before the close of play on day two. The hosts trail India by 535 runs at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. A sloppy effort in the field also made matters worse for the home team. India, who began the day at 302 for four, were allowed to score freely by the West Indian bowlers, so much so that tail-ender Amit Mishra raced to 53 off 68 balls towards the end of the innings, lasting 161.5 overs.
Last Update: India 1st innings: 566 for 8 declared in 161.5 overs. West Indies 1st innings: 90/3 in 44 overs (Kraigg Brathwaite 46 batting; Mohammed Shami 2/23). West Indies still trail by 476 runs in their first innings.