Ashwin, Saha tons give India the edge against West Indies on day 2

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Ashwin, Saha tons give India the edge against West Indies on day 2

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SportsCafe Desk

08/11/2016

Continuing from their rescue on the previous day, Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha hit a ton apiece to help India reach 353 on the second day of the third Test. In reply, West Indies began well with Kraigg Brathwaite hitting a half-century to lead the hosts to a comfortable 107/1.

Brief Scores: West Indies 107/1 (Brathwaite 53*) trail India 353 all out (Ashwin 118, Saha 104, Rahul 50, Cummins 3-54, Joseph 3-69)

The two tons

Ravichandran Ashwin has been a revelation in this tour of the West Indies. He already had two tons against the Islanders before the series began, but he has turned out to be one of India's best batsmen in this series.

After saving India major blushes with a patient knock on the first day to take them from 126/5 to 234/5, Ashwin and Saha started from where they left. It was Saha, who showed more application on the day. Starting from his overnight score of 46, he started slowly taking only 6 off the first 31 balls he faced in the morning session.

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But after drinks, Saha upped his scoring rate and quickly caught up with Ashwin, who had started the day at 75. Ashwin was already in his 90s by then, but Saha kept the majority of strike from here and made the most of it. He raced with boundary after boundary and reached 93 while Ashwin made 9 more runs. Ashwin then reached his century with a six off Roston Chase, and Saha followed suit soon for his maiden Test century.

And then the tumble

India were very well-placed at 339 for 5, a great position especially considering the 126/5 they were at before the two joined hands at the crease. But India's next 5 wickets fell within just 8 overs and just 14 runs. Saha first departed for 104 putting an end to a match-saving partnership that had lasted almost a full day. Saha went for a drive off an over-pitched delivery from Alzarri Joseph but ended up nicking it to wicketkeeper Dowrich. There was some confusion over whether the catch was cleanly taken or not, but replays showed it had been, and Saha had to go.

And then the floodgates opened. Ravindra Jadeja, who had the stage set for an attacking innings, ended up edging the ball to Dowrich while at 6 runs giving Miguel Cummins his maiden Test wicket. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashwin, and Ishant Sharma soon followed as India squandered a chance to reach 400 and settled for 353.

Steady is the game for West Indies

Unlike their last-day innings in the previous Test, West Indies were going to play this nice and steady. The desperation from the previous Test was gone, and with the new-found confidence, calculated gameplay had replaced it.

Rajendra Chandrika had finally made way for Leon Johnson, the highest run-scorer in West Indies first-class circuit the last season. And unlike India, the changes made by the West Indies actually worked. Leon Johnson provided a steady platform alongside Kraigg Brathwaite as the duo weathered the Indian attack and put up a fifty-run partnership. Johnson had a reprieve when he was on 4 after he was dropped by KL Rahul and made the most of it.

But, Rahul would account for Johnson eventually. At 23, Johnson took off for a non-existent run but found himself short of the crease after Rahul's sharp throw from short mid-wicket rattled the timber at the non-striker's end.

Brathwaite then combined with Darren Bravo, and the duo quietly went about blunting the Indian attack. Brathwaite reached his half-century, while Bravo played a much better innings than his previous outing. The duo ended the day at the crease with the Windies in a comfortable position at 107/1, and would look to build on it when play begins tomorrow.

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