Fri, 20 Sep 2019

West Indies fight back but India stretch lead to 173

ESPNCricInfo
25 Aug 2019, 05:42 GMT+10

3:00 AM ET

Tea India 297 and 98 for 3 (Kohli 14*, Rahane 5*, Chase 2 for 42) lead West Indies 222 (Chase 48, Ishant 5-43) by 173 runs

India stretched their lead to 173 at tea on day three of the first Test despite a fightback from the West Indies bowlers. The visitors finished the session on 98 for 3 with Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane still at the crease. Earlier in the day, West Indies were bowled out for 222, 75 short of India's first-innings total of 297.

KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal had survived a tricky seven-over period before lunch but after the break, West Indies surprisingly resumed with Roston Chase and Miguel Cummins.

While Cummins had to walk off the field - after bowling just two overs - with some discomfort in his thigh, Chase didn't disappoint his captain and trapped Mayank Agarwal lbw for 16 as the batsman tried to paddle-sweep a fuller delivery. It looked plumb in real-time and perhaps that was the reason Rahul suggested not to review it. However, replays showed the ball would have gone on to miss the leg stump.

Rahul looked tentative at the other end, even top-edging a pull off Jason Holder towards fine leg but luckily for him, the ball fell short of the fielder. Cheteshwar Pujara, though, used his feet against Chase right from the start and didn't let the spinner dictate the terms. Rahul too grew in confidence and played a near-perfect straight drive against Shannon Gabriel before late-cutting Chase for another boundary.

The duo had added 43 for the second wicket before Chase struck once more. Having hit him for a four the previous ball, Rahul tried to sweep the next one fine but missed it completely and was bowled for 38. Twice in two innings, Rahul failed to convert a start into something substantial; in the first innings, he was caught down the leg side for 44 off the same bowler.

In the next over, Pujara got an in-seamer from Kemar Roach. The ball came back in after pitching on a length and sneaked in through the bat-pad gap to hit the top of the off stump. Kohli and Rahane, though, took India to tea without further damage.

Resuming the day on 189 for 8, West Indies' overnight batsmen Holder and Miguel Cummins frustrated India with a 41-run stand for the ninth wicket in which Cummins' contribution was 0.

But once Mohammed Shami dismissed Holder for 39, Cummins went for a big heave against Ravindra Jadeja, only to be bowled for a 45-ball duck. But the main destroyer was Ishant Sharma, who finished with figures of 5 for 43. On the second evening, West Indies were 174 for 5 at one stage before Ishant took three wickets in seven balls to reduce them to 179 for 8.

West Indies' hopes of getting close to India's first-innings total of 297 rested on Holder who farmed the strike as much as possible. With two fours in Jasprit Bumrah's second over of the day, Holder took West Indies past 200. In the pacer's next over, Holder chipped him wide of mid-on for another boundary.

At the other end, Cummins stuck to his brief of just hanging in there. It wasn't that India didn't have a chance to bowl more than a couple of balls at a time at him; Ishant got two successive overs at Cummins. While the seamer kept beating Cummins' bat, he couldn't fetch an edge.

Kohli turned to Jadeja in search of the breakthrough. Jadeja too beat Cummins thrice in five balls in his first over of the day but the batsman just focused on protecting his stumps instead of poking at the ball.

Holder and Cummins saw out the first hour of the day with India seemingly growing frustrated. When it finally looked like Cummins had edged one behind the stumps, off Mohammed Shami, the decision was overturned on review as replays showed the bat had hit the turf and not the ball.

But Shami wasn't to be denied for long. On the first ball of his next over, he got Holder to nick one behind and this time there was no doubt about the edge.

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