AFP/North Sound, Antigua and Barbuda
Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma sent West Indies crashing to 15 for five at tea after Indian captain Virat Kohli declared his team’s second innings to set the home side an improbable victory target of 419 on the fourth day of the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua yesterday.
After Ajinkya Rahane completed his tenth Test hundred and Hanuma Vihari fell seven runs short of his maiden Test century in a total of 343 for seven, Bumrah and Sharma were utterly devastating against batsmen who appeared ill-equipped — mentally and technically — to cope with high quality fast bowling.
Bumrah was first to strike in extending Kraigg Brathwaite’s already protracted run of low scores before scattering the stumps of opening partner John Campbell and senior batsman Darren Bravo to have the outstanding figures of three for eight off four overs at the interval.
He could have also had the wicket of Shimron Hetmyer but Kohli grassed a straightforward catch at third slip.
Sharma, who led the India attack with five wickets in the first innings, was not to be denied his share of the spoils, trapping debutant Shamarh Brooks leg-before and then making Hetmyer pay for his continuing loose play outside the off-stump, Rahane atoning for his captain’s earlier error in the slip cordon.
Roston Chase, top-scorer in the West Indies first innings and leading wicket-taker with four for 132 in India’s second innings effort, was expected to be joined in the middle by Shai Hope at the start of the day’s final session with India pressing to finish off their hapless opponents with a day to spare and earn a precious 60 points at the start of their World Test Championship campaign.
Ironically the day started brightly for the hosts when Chase removed Kohli before the Indian captain had added to his overnight score of 51.
Attempting to turn a full-length delivery to the on-side, the ball took a leading edge for Campbell to take the catch at the second attempt at short extra-cover.
However, Vihari started positively with the entrenched Rahane and not even the introduction of the second new ball could stem the flow of runs as 102 runs were scored off 29 overs in the morning session.
Rahane’s 17-match and near two-year wait for a Test hundred ended shortly after the resumption of play in the afternoon.
But he fell shortly after reaching the landmark, West Indies captain Jason Holder taking the catch at mid-off to dismiss him off Shannon Gabriel.
Rahane’s knock of 102, which followed his first innings top score of 81, spanned five hours, 242 deliveries and included five fours.
Kohli delayed the declaration in anticipation of Vihari’s hundred but the right-hander, on 93, gloved an attempted hook off Holder to wicketkeeper Hope, leaving the West Indies with what developed into an agonising 40 minutes before the tea interval.
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