(ESPNCRICINFO) – UNBEATEN half-centuries from Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane helped India take firm control of the first Test against West Indies in North Sound.
By the end of the third day, India were 185 for 3, Kohli batting on 51 and Rahane on 53 with the overall lead swelling to 260.
The two had joined hands just before tea and continued their association till stumps, adding 104 for the fourth wicket.
Earlier in the day, West Indies were bowled out for 222, 75 behind India’s first-innings total of 297.
India had to negotiate a tricky seven-over period before lunch but KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal ensured they went into the break without any damage.
When the teams returned, 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.
In the next over, Kemar Roach castled Pujara with a delivery that seamed back after pitching on a length, and sneaked in through the bat-pad gap to hit the top of the off stump. India – 81 for 3.
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane took the side to tea and it started to look like the two were batting without any trouble.
But Roach returned for another burst and produced some more magical deliveries albeit without adding more wickets to his tally. He almost had Rahane when the batsman was on 17.
After Roach’s burst, Rahane smashed Gabriel for back-to-back fours, an on-the-up cover drive followed by a ferocious cut. With India’s lead already in excess of 200, West Indies brought spin from both end in the form of Kraigg Brathwaite and Chase. But with both Kohli and Rahane now set, this made run-scoring even easier.
Roach returned for another spell before stumps and almost had Rahane once more, this time trapping him in front of the stumps but umpire Rod Tucker’s finger didn’t move. Replays showed the ball would have crashed into the middle stump.
Rahane, who was on 48 at that time, brought up his second fifty of the match in the next over. Kohli soon followed him and reached the landmark with a pulled four off Cummins, just his second boundary of the innings.
The last ball of the day, a fuller one down the leg side by Gabriel and which Shai Hope could only partially stop thereby conceding two byes, told the story of the Test. India were aware to take advantage as West Indies lowered their guard with the Test slipping away from their hands.
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.