Match Report : 1st Test: Day 3 : West Indies vs India at North Sound, July 23, 2016
Brief scores: India 566/8 decl. lead West Indies 243 (Kraigg Brathwaite 74, Shane Dowrich 57*; Umesh Yadav 4-41, Mohammed Shami 4-66) & 21/1 (Darren Bravo 10*; Ishant Sharma 1-3) by 302 runs.
Patience. It’s been the virtue the Indian team has been preaching over the past few days. R Ashwin had said after his knock yesterday that it was the kind of pitch where they will have to plan for and prise every batsman. On day three of the first Test between West Indies and India in North Sound, Antigua, a battle of attrition unfurled. In a game they were thoroughly dominating, India went wicket-less for significant periods. But they hardly wavered with their plans and were duly rewarded soon after.
Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami were the architects of destruction for the Indians, taking four wickets each to bowl out the hosts for 243 in their first innings. While Shami was the picture of consistency, Yadav was sharp and impactful in bursts. After enforcing the follow-on, Ishant Sharma picked up the lone wicket to fall, that of Kraigg Brathwaite, in the very first over.
For West Indies, Kraigg Brathwaite put up a spirited fight with a 218-ball 74, while Shane Dowrich opted to attack towards the end and gave his side a bit of a boost. Jason Holder, too, played a decent hand, scoring 36 before falling to Yadav. During their second innings, Rajendra Chandrika and Darren Bravo stood firm towards the end of the day to help the team end at 21 for 1, still adrift by 302 runs.
Having dominated for two straight days, India had their first taste at a struggle as Kraigg Brathwaite and nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo put up a dogged fight to keep the home side afloat. However, the Indians kept patient and did not give away too many loose deliveries. They ended the session with the wickets of Bishoo and Darren Bravo.
India started off with Shami and Ishant, and although the pair looked sharp, they could not break through. Bishsoo, who was sent in at three as the nightwatchman, survived many close calls – playing and missing on many occasions, but did not throw his wicket away. At the other end, Kraigg Brathwaite was solid in his defence, as West Indies saw off the first hour without any setbacks.
Amit Mishra gave India their much-needed breakthrough as he had Bishoo out stumped for 12 off 46 balls. Bishoo and Brathwaite had combined for 38 runs off 107 balls. R Ashwin was into the attack soon after, and he had Brathwaite in a spot on a couple of occasions. Operating with two close-in fielders in front of the batsman, Ashwin bowled with considerable flight to try and tempt the batsman to drive. Brathwaite opted to step out and hit the offspinner more than once, but managed to get his shots away from the fielders.
Shami reaped his reward for some tight bowling since the morning, as he had Darren Bravo caught by Wriddhiman Saha at the stroke of Lunch. The left-hander needlessly poked at a shortish delivery well outside off and the edge was snapped up by the keeper.
India’s grip over the Test tightened in the second session as they removed four West Indian wickets and put themselves in total command.
Shami continued to impress, picking up the wickets of Marlon Samuels and Jermaine Blackwood to leave the hosts in deep trouble. Kraigg Brathwaite and Roston Chase anchored the reply with a defiant stand 47-run stand, but Yadav brought his side roaring back with the wickets of both the set batsmen in quick succession.
Starting the second session at 90 for 3, West Indies suffered early setbacks as Shami picked up two quick wickets. Samuels played a poor shot to a ball that was well wide of off. His attempted poke took the edge and Wriddhiman Saha completed an easy catch behind the stumps. In the same over, Shami got the ball to rise sharply after pitching, leaving Blackwood little chance of getting away. He awkwardly fended at the ball, and edged it to Ajinkya Rahane at gully.
Chase looked quite comfortable during his debut Test batting stint, showing a particular willingness to play the pull. Him and Kraigg Brathwiate, who by then had scored his half century, helped West Indies keep the Indians at bay for a bit. Umesh Yadav, however, had other ideas. Chase’s strength resulted in his undoing. A pull off Yadav was not particularly well struck, and went straight to Virat Kohli at mid-wicket. Not long after, Umesh surprised Kraigg Brathwaite with a superb short delivery, and the batsman ended up gloving the ball through to give Saha his fifth dismissal of the innings.
India also thought they had Shane Dowrich out caught at slip off R Ashwin in the final over before tea, but replays showed that the ball had pitched inches before it landed in Rahane’s hands.
West Indies fought back in the final session with some big hits. Jason Holder pulled Shami over the ropes while Mishra conceded three boundaries in one over. India took the new ball one over after it was made available and Umesh Yadav was back in the thick of things. Holder edged to give Saha another catch, while Carlos Brathwaite offered no shot to a ball that was fairly straight and saw his off stump do a couple cartwheels. Mishra got the final wicket, getting Shannon Gabriel out bowled, leaving Dowrich stranded on 57.
With a little less than 15 overs to be bowled for the day, Kohli enforced the follow-on and he was rewarded immediately. Ishant picked up his first wicket of the match, getting Kraigg Brathwaite leg-before in the very first over. Bravo and Chandrika kept the Indians at bay from there on, but they and the rest of the batsmen will have to do much more of the same if they are to even get close to saving the game.