India eye series win against West Indies


India strengthened their chances of winning the second Test and the series despite the West Indies’ improved batting show after a first-innings collapse on the third day on Wednesday. The West Indies, dismissed for 153 in their first innings in reply to India’s mammoth 631-7 declared, did better in their second innings to reach 195-3 at stumps at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The tourists, who lost the opening Test of the three-match series by five wickets in New Delhi, face a stiff task to save the match as they still trail by 283 runs with seven wickets in hand. Darren Bravo was unbeaten on 38 with the help of three sixes and Shivnarine Chanderpaul on 21 not out. Opener Adrian Barath (62) and Kirk Edwards (60) defied the Indian attack with a 93-run stand for the second wicket after the early dismissal of Kraigg Brathwaite (nine), who was caught behind off paceman Umesh Yadav. Barath and Edwards played some attractive shots before fast bowler Ishant Sharma broke the stand immediately after the tea-break when he had Barath caught by Venkatsai Laxman, who held a low catch to his left at first slip. Barath hit 10 fours in his third Test half-century.
Sharma struck again when he removed Edwards, trapped leg-before after hitting one six and six fours in his second Test half-century. India gained the big advantage through their bowlers in the morning session as the West Indies could add just 119 runs in 36 overs after resuming at 34-2, with left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha finishing with 4-64. “We are in the driver’s seat and things are going pretty well at the moment. In the morning, there was some moisture in the wicket and it was doing a bit for us,” said Ojha. “We hope the same thing happens tomorrow. Our guys are bowling well and hitting the right areas. We are confident of getting them out early tomorrow.” Yadav, who took one wicket on Tuesday, struck twice in the morning to finish with 3-23 in only his second Test match, while off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bagged 2-49.
The West Indies’ batsmen failed to apply themselves in the first innings on a pitch offering turn and bounce to spinners, with Bravo top-scoring with 30. “Chanderpaul is the key player for us tomorrow. He can bat through tomorrow and make it difficult for the Indian bowlers,” said Barath. “We did not bat as well as we should have in the first innings. I think it was just a matter of application. We learnt from our mistakes and applied ourselves a bit more (in the second innings).” Ashwin and Ojha did the early damage when they took one wicket each before Yadav jolted the West Indies by removing Bravo and Marlon Samuels (25) in successive overs.
Ojha got a wicket in the fifth over of the day when he trapped Edwards (16) leg-before for his 50th Test victim in 13 matches after the batsman had added only four runs to his overnight score of 12. Ashwin, who got married a day before the Test started, captured a big wicket in his opening over when he removed in-form Chanderpaul, who was also trapped leg-before. Chanderpaul, who scored 118 and 47 in the opening Test, was able to contribute just four runs this time. Bravo and Samuels played some attacking shots during their 46-run stand for the fifth wicket before falling in the space of seven runs to leave their team struggling at 99-6.