Wed, 27 May 2020

Tea West Indies 82 for 3 (Bravo 18*, Chase 10*) trail India 297 all out (Rahane 81, Jadeja 58, Roach 4-66, Gabriel 3-71) by 213 runs

India took a big step towards seizing the advantage in the first Test against West Indies, taking three wickets between lunch and tea on day two. At the break, wickets from Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami meant the hosts were 82 for 3, trailing by 213.

West Indies lost both openers, John Campbell and Kraigg Brathwaite, and the debutant Shamarh Brooks in the session. Brooks looked solid in the middle, but he fell trying to cut Jadeja shortly before the break. At 50 for 2, Brooks failed to pick Jadeja's arm-ball and made room to cut a ball that was too close to his body. It found the outside edge and lobbed off the wicketkeeper's thigh to first slip.

Campbell and Brathwaite began West Indies' innings on a bright note. They saw off the new-ball spell from Ishant and Jasprit Bumrah without much trouble. Campbell, in particular, was aggressive, finding the boundary four times in the first seven overs. That forced India captain Virat Kohli to bring in Shami, and the pacer struck right away, finding Campbell's leg stump via the inside edge with a yorker.

Over the next 10 overs, Brathwaite and Brooks consolidated, but not quickly enough, scoring only 12 runs in that period. Ishant's inswingers kept them both in check while accurate bowling from Jadeja dried up the runs. When Ishant bowled a full ball in the 18th over, Brathwaite tried to drive him straight back, but a turning bat meant the ball plopped at knee height for Ishant, who was composed enough in his follow through to hold on to a reaction catch. His wicket, and then Brooks', brought two new men - Roston Chase and Darren Bravo - into the middle, and the duo added 28 before the teams left for tea. Bravo, in particular, looked in fine touch, smacking two fours and a lofted six off Jadeja over long-on.

Earlier in the day, Jadeja and Ishant frustrated the hosts for the majority of the session, putting on a 60-run eighth-wicket stand before the latter fell for 19. Their effort helped India post 297, adding 94 runs to their overnight total before being bowled out.

India started the day on 203 for 6, and Rishabh Pant fell in the day's third over, to Kemar Roach. From around the wicket, he found the outside edge with a ball that left Pant who tried to drive, only to be caught by Jason Holder at second slip.

Thereafter, Ishant bunted balls the few balls that were aimed at the stumps while leaving those - a majority - that weren't, and collecting what he could. From the other end, Jadeja dealt in ones and twos while picking boundaries whenever he found the opportunity to free his arms.

The day's first four came from Jadeja, driving Roach through gully. When Holder went around the wicket, Jadeja was fairly defensive up until he was offered a short ball wide outside the stumps. crunching it through point, indicating that the new ball was easier to score off. When Roach looked to cramp Jadeja with a short ball, he swiveled to pull to deep midwicket.

The short ball, however, was not so easy for Ishant, although he did play at them with soft hands. He was often attacked with the deliveries aimed at his mid-riff, and many balls from Holder came off his glove or handle. A few even fell marginally short of square leg. Ishant finally fell to Shannon Gabriel, dismissed by a slow yorker outside the off stump. Ishant tried to dig the ball out, but only managed to roll it back onto the stumps.

That brought in No. 10 Mohammad Shami, who lasted just one ball, chipping a full delivery back to the bowler Roston Chase. With last man Jasprit Bumrah for company, Jadeja changed gears immediately, slapping Gabriel past the slip cordon to stamp his intent. Shoddy glovework didn't help West Indies either; stand-in wicketkeeper Shai Hope conceded two boundaries off byes in back-to-back overs as India went past 280.

After Bumrah survived 11 balls without much drama, Jadeja reached his 11th Test half-century by cutting Chase through point as the session went into the extra half hour. Playing as the only designated spinner in the team, Jadeja played a near-chanceless innings up until his landmark. The next ball, Jadeja swept Chase for the Test's first six. Two overs later, Jadeja tried pulling Holder but sliced it to the wicketkeeper. That brought the curtains down on India's recovery after they were reduced to 25 for 3 within the first hour of the Test.

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