Opener KL Rahul’s career-best score of 158 helped India end day 2 with a total of 358 for 5 in the second Test of the four-match series against West Indies at Jamaica. Cheteshwar Pujara, and Virat Kohli scored forties, while Ajinkya Rahane remained unbeaten on 42 to take India’s lead to 162.
Starting from the overnight score of 126 for 1, KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara started on a cautious note as Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder kept things tight. The batsmen refused to take a risk against the Windies pacers and the scoreboard moved at a snail’s pace. The away side scored just 22 runs in the first hour of play, while Pujara took 35 balls on the day to add one run to his overnight score.
Rahul took the initiative to up the ante once Roston Chase arrived and took easy singles and boundaries off him to move the scoreboard. He brought up his third century in the 56th over with a six over wide mid-on off Chase. The Karnataka lad, who has been having a great run with the bat since the IPL, then hugged Pujara at the other end and raised his bat as an acknowledgement to the cheers.
Pujara, on the other end, remained determined to block out the Windies pacers, and although he succeeded in it in the first session of play, a rare error cost him his wicket after lunch. The Saurashtra batsman ran himself out for 46 after the ball went straight to Chase at square leg. Chase threw down the stumps to beat Pujara’s desperate dive.
By the time Pujara departed, India had a 12-run lead, and with Virat Kohli in the crease, the fans might have expected their team to score a bit quicker. But, it wasn't as Rahul and Kohli combined to form a 69-run partnership, which came at less than three an over. Just before tea, Rahul brought up his 150, this time with a single off Chase.
The home side took the new ball after tea, but they lost pacer Miguel Cummins shortly after he pulled his hamstring. However, the Indians looked more intent on scoring quick runs in the final session, and that led to their downfall as Shannon Gabriel removed Rahul for 158 with an edge down the leg side.
But, Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha stitched together an unbeaten 31-run partnership to make sure that India ended the day with a 162-run lead. India will be looking to increase their lead on Day 3 before putting the home side in for their second innings.
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