Johnson, Holder rock India with pace
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – West Indies A came alive in a spectacular last hour to gain the upper hand over India A at the close of the third day of the first four-day ‘Test’ match on Monday.
Fast bowlers Jason Holder and Delorn Johnson bowled with pace and extracted sideways movement as they ripped out three wickets in the final session to set-up up an enthralling final day on Tuesday.
India A, chasing 186 for victory, limped to 22 for three on a good batting surface and will enter the final day at Kensington Oval needing another 164 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Holder, the six-foot-seven-inch pacer, operated from the Joel Garner End and has so far claimed two for 12 off five overs. Johnson, the six-foot-five-inch left-armer, steamed in from the Malcolm Marshall End at the south and ended the day with one for nine off five overs.
Holder produced a superb out-swinger to Abhinav Mukund which the left-hander edged to Jonathan Carter at third slip for his second “duck” of the match. In the next over, he uprooted the off stump of Ajinkya Rahane as the batsman offered no stroke.
Johnson then went around the wicket and produced an almost unplayable out-swinger which night-watchman Rahul Sharma edged to second slip for Nkrumah Bonner to come up with a good, low catch to his left.
Captain Cheteshwar Pujara is yet to score and survived a torrid 21 minutes when he was twice struck on the hand by lifting deliveries from Johnson. The other not out batsman is attacking left-hander Shikhar Dhawan on 13.
Earlier in the day, West Indies A suffered a batting collapse as they were all out for 210 in the second innings after resuming the day on three without loss. The Windies were coasting at 134 for two in the afternoon session but then lost their last eight wickets for just 76 runs in the space of two hours as the game took a huge momentum shift. Six West Indies batsmen were leg-before wicket and the other four bowled.
The unlikely bowling hero and chief destroyer for India was off-spinner Rohit Sharma who had career-best figures of four for 41 from 16.3 overs. An occasional off-spinner with just 10 first-class wickets before the match, he out-bowled the more heralded leg-spinner Rahul Sharma, who managed just one wicket for 67 runs.
Rohit was accurate and got the ball to turn but he was helped by some uncertain footwork from the timid Windies lower-order. Two of his wickets were bowled – Jason Holder (15) who dragged on an attempted cut and first innings top-scorer Veerasammy Permaul (4), who missed an ill-advised pull.
Rohits’s other two victims were trapped leg-before wicket – Devendra Bishoo (4) and Delorn Johnson (1) both pushing forward without conviction. Rohit came on after fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar produced a superb six-over spell of reverse swing when he took three wickets for nine runs. He ended with three for 44 off 14 overs.
The West Indies resumed the day on three without loss and got an ideal platform from openers Lendl Simmons and Kraigg Brathwaite who hit contrasting half-centuries in an opening stand of 68.
Simmons, who was on Monday named in the West Indies One-Day squad to tour England, top-scored with a blazing 53 with five fours and two sixes off just 66 balls.
He dominated the opening stand with the patient Brathwaite, as the West Indies added 90 runs in the morning session.
Simmons launched a brutal attack on Rahul Sharma with a six over long-on, a cut for four and a straight six in the leg-spinner’s first over of the day. He fell soon after, trapped leg-before playing back to give fast bowler Shami Ahmed his first wicket.
Rahul then got another breakthrough as Donovan Pagon was also leg-before for a three-ball ‘duck’.
The 19-year-old Brathwaite, fighting to regain a place in the West Indies Test side to face New Zealand next month, made a defiant 50 which came in four hours off 166 balls and included four boundaries.
He added 65 for the third wicket with Bonner (36) but after the stand was broken by Kumar at 134 for three, the innings went into rapid decline.
WEST INDIES A 1st Innings 252
INDIA A 1st Innings 277
WEST INDIES A 2nd Innings
(overnight three without loss)
L Simmons lbw b Ahmed 53
K Brathwaite b Kumar 50
D Pagon lbw b Rahul Sharma 0
N Bonner lbw b Kumar 36
J Carter lbw b Kumar 0
L Johnson not out 7
+D Thomas b Ahmed 22
J Holder b Rohit Sharma 15
*V Permaul b Rohit Sharma 4
D Bishoo lbw b Rohit Sharma 4
D Johnson lbw b Rohit Sharma 1
Extras (b4, lb5, nb9) 18
TOTAL (all out, 78.3 overs) 210
Fall of wickets: 1-68, 2-69, 3-134, 4-134, 5-151, 6-186, 7-193, 8-202, 9-208, 10-210.
Bowling: Dinda 14-7-25-0 (nb4), Kumar 14-4-44-3, Ahmed 17-8-24-2, Rahul Sharma 17-4-67-1, Rohit Sharma 16.3-3-41-4.
INDIA A 2nd Innings (target: 186)
S Dhawan not out 13
A Mukund c Carter b Holder 0
A Rahane b Holder 5
Rahul Sharma c Pagon b D Johnson 3
*C Pujara not out 0
Extras (b1) 1
TOTAL (3 wkts, 10 overs) 22
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-12, 3-15.
Bowling: D Johnson 5-1-9-1, Holder 5-0-12-2.
Position: India require a further 164 runs for victory.
Toss: India A.
Umpires: Gregory Brathwaite, Joel Wilson.