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Shami’s sublime spell puts West Indies in dire straits


Kingston: India were in the driver’s seat in the second Test after Mohammed Shami’s double strike helped them reduce the West Indies to 48 for four at lunch on day four, despite the loss of substantial time in the session due to intermittent rain here today.

Only 15.5 overs could be bowled in what was stop-start session but it was enough for India to press the advantage over a lacklustre West Indies at the Sabina Park here. The hosts still need to make 256 runs to make India bat again.

Tropical storm Earl hasn’t hit Jamaica with full fury, but persistent showers made sure that a lot of playing time was lost in the morning session, with forecast not too good for the remainder of the day either.

Overnight showers made sure that 75 minutes were lost before play could resume and the West Indies’ second innings could begin. Only three overs were possible before showers returned though, and forced another short break in play. In this interim, play did get under way and Ishant Sharma (1-19) bowled Rajendra Chandrika (1), the opener shouldering arms to an incoming short delivery that was deflected onto his stumps off his arm.

After another rain break then, Darren Bravo (20) joined Kraigg Brathwaite (23), and the duo never looked comfortable at the crease, particularly against Shami (2-25) who used the conditions well. He used the short ball to good effect against Bravo, hitting him on the forearm and the batsman was never confident thereafter. Somehow the two managed to stay at the wicket, as rain threatened to break play again.

Amit Mishra (1-4) was introduced into the attack thereafter, and after seeing through Ishant’s spell, Brathwaite played a needless stroke to get out. He pulled a short delivery off the legspinner and Lokesh Rahul ran back from midwicket to complete the catch in the 13th over. An over later, Marlon Samuels (0) was bowled for a five-ball duck, as he left an incoming delivery from Shami.

Two overs later, the Bengal pacer broke the West Indies’ batting order, as Bravo couldn’t cope with a short delivery again. He dabbed at it, just when he looked to leave it, and the ball lobbed up to Rahul at third slip and the batsman was on his way back. The West Indies went into the lunch break, struggling to save this Test, with incessant rain now their only hope of survival. Jermaine Blackwood (3*) was the unbeaten batsman at the crease.

On day one, Ravichandran Ashwin picked up 5-52, his 18th five-wicket haul in 34 Test as West Indies were bundled out for 196 runs in the first innings. On day two, Rahul scored 158 runs, his 3rd Test hundred. On day three, Ajinkya Rahane scored 108*, his 7th Test hundred, as India finished at 500/9d before rain washed out the final session.

The visitors had won the first Test in Antigua by an innings and 92 runs.


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