A short rain shower stopped India’s march in the first cricket Test against West Indies as the hosts went into an early lunch on day four at 76 for two, still trailing by 247 runs, here on Sunday.
At the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Rajendra Chandrika (22) and Marlon Samuels (39) put on 55 runs for the third wicket before the morning session was cut short by rain and early lunch taken.
The morning began with overnight batsmen Chandrika and Darren Bravo (10) looking to play on for time as well as score runs whenever possible. India started the proceedings with Ishant Sharma (1-17) and Umesh Yadav (1-19), the duo looking sharp and bowling fuller deliveries, especially the former who was a marked improvement from his first innings’ outing.
And this brought immediate success as Yadav sent back Bravo off the fifth ball of the day, as Ajinkya Rahane drove to his left and held a two-handed catch at gully. The duo bowled a consistent spell thereafter, testing both Chandrika and Samuels, but the batsmen showed enough resilience to stay put at the wicket. Samuels in particular looked aggressive and used good hand-eye co-ordination to smack nine boundaries in the session. The two batsmen put on 50 off 98 balls, while the West Indies’ score crossed the 50-mark in the 27th over.
Mohammed Shami (0-20) was soon introduced into the attack, and he was on the money straightaway.
There was one incident where he could have sent Samuels back, as he induced an edge only for the ball to die down on its way to the keeper Wriddhiman Saha. He caught the ball but the umpires checked upstairs for a replay and it didn’t prove conclusively that the catch was cleanly taken, and Samuels was given a life in the 25th over. He was on 16 at that time.
He raced on quickly thereafter and looked more comfortable at the crease as time passed, as did Chandrika at the other end. About 40 minutes were left for lunch when rain intervened and cut short the session.
Despite the shower passing by, the umpires called for an early lunch to allow for the ground staff to prepare the field for resumption at 12.25 pm local time.