Bhuvneshwar Kumar had one of those days - he ran through the Windies line-up today in double time to end their challenge at 225. Later, after losing early wickets, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma steadied the ship for India with some sensible batting to end with a 285-run lead at the close of day 4.
After rain washed out the third day of the Test match, India went into the fourth day hoping for some quick wickets to finish the Windies innings. With Darren Bravo susceptible to the short ball, Ishant Sharma targeted the southpaw with bouncers and he finally fell in the trap in the ninth over of the day. The southpaw tried to hook one, only to sky it to give Ravindra Jadeja an easy catch at fine leg. Ashwin removed Brathwaite three overs later for 64, and all of a sudden, the home side were in a spot of trouble.
However, Marlon Samuels and Jermaine Blackwood counter-attacked in a bid to remove the close-in fielders. The ploy worked, and the duo added 67 runs in quick time to take the innings forward. With the batsmen running away with the game, Virat Kohli took the new ball before lunch in a bid to take a wicket.
Bhuvneshwar runs riot after lunch
The Windies went into the lunch break at 192/3, and looked in a comfortable position, trailing India by just 159 runs. But, Kohli’s ploy to take the new ball even when the pitch was spinning paved the way for India to remove the remaining Windies batsmen. Bhuvneshwar Kumar started the attack after lunch and found an edge off Blackwood’s bat in the fourth over after the break to inflict the opening salvo. The new ball was doing the talking, and Samuels followed a few overs later after chopping one back into the stumps. All of a sudden, the Windies were on the back foot, and wickets stumbled left, right, and centre.
In a matter of 20 overs, India wrapped up the Windies innings for 225. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the star of India’s bowling line-up and took a five-wicket haul to change the complexion of the match. Ashwin and Jadeja shared one wicket each after the lunch to give India a first-innings lead of 128 runs.
India suffer early setbacks
India appeared to have come in with a plan to make quick runs and then force West Indies to bat again early on the final day. The plan was on course as India were at 44 runs after 7 overs with KL Rahul going after the bowling – he scored three fours in a 20-ball innings to reach 24 runs, but then fell to Cummins. It was a good length ball that straightened to take a nick off Rahul's bat before reaching Brathwaite at second slip. Cummins soon removed Virat Kohli lbw with a lovely delivery that pitched in line with the off-stump and would have gone to hit middle but for Kohli's pads on the way.
Dhawan had, meanwhile, slowed down further after Rahul's dismissal but he could not play the anchor role that he had hoped for. In the 16th over, Roston Chase fired in a quick one, yorking a confused Dhawan who could not help but stumble over. Dhawan had been caught right in front of the wicket, and India were 72/3.
Rahane & Rohit steady ship
After the loss of three early wickets, India were in a spot of bother here, but Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma played through the rest of the day. Sharma started unsteadily, and had a reprieve after getting too adventurous at 7 runs. He misjudged a Roston Chase delivery and the ball traveled to the cow corner where Alzarri Joseph misjudged and failed to take the catch - it ended up being six runs for Sharma. That six gave him the confidence, and Sharma hit two more sixes in his innings to end the day at 41 runs. Less flamboyant, but Ajinkya Rahane, meanwhile, reached his half-century as the duo put up 83 runs for the fourth wicket to take India to a safe lead of 285 runs. The duo would look to get some quick runs tomorrow as Virat Kohli would be hoping to set an inviting target for West Indies early on in search of a win.
Lasith Malinga or Bhuvneshwar Kumar? Who will take more wickets?
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