Pacer Mohammed Shami made a remarkable comeback to Test cricket with four wickets, including two in an over, as India reduced West Indies to 120 for five and consolidated their position on day three of the first match here today. Opener Kraigg Brathwaite (61) and Roston Chase (14) were batting when drinks were called in the second session.
The post-lunch session started on a bad note for the hosts as they lost Marlon Samuels (1) and Jermaine Blackwood (0) in the innings’ 49th over, bowled by Shami, who had impressive figures of 4/35 in 15 overs by then.Bowling consistently just outside the off stump, Shami, who last played a Test in January 2015, got the ball to talk and induced and edge from both Samuels and Blackwood.
In the first session, he dismissed Darren Bravo, who also edged one to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, adding to the wicket of Rajendra Chandrika yesterday evening. At lunch, the hosts reached 90 for three, trailing by 476 runs in reply to India’s mammoth first innings total of 566 for eight declared.
Earlier, at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Brathwaite 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, Umesh Yadav and Shami 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 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.
After Virat Kohli’s mammoth double century and Ashwin’s ton India scored 566 for eight. West Indies started the match in a bad note when Shami got Chandrika in 14.2 overs.
Earlier on the day, skipper Kohli slammed the West Indie players out of the park. 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.
The visitors continued to bat on after being placed at 512/6 at tea, and Ashwin came out again with Mishra. While the former was accounted for Kraigg Brathwaite, Mishra went on to play some attacking strokes and reached his 4th Test half-century off 67 balls.