Tea Day 3: Sharma's best gives India lead

Bridgetown, Barbados, CMC – West Indies’ bid for a first innings lead in the Second Digicel Test against India were undermined by career-best bowling from Ishant Sharma before rain prompted an early tea on Thursday, with the visitors extending their lead to 31.

 

India, leading by 11 runs, reached 20 without loss in their second innings, when rain prompted an early tea break on the rain-marred third day with Abhinav Mukund not out on eight and fellow opener Murali Vijay not out on two.

 

Marlon Samuels finished with the top score for West Indies of an unbeaten 78, but his hard work was chortled, when Sharma triggered a lower order collapse, ending with six wickets for 55 runs from 21.5 overs.

 

After Carlton Baugh was caught at slip for two, giving off-spinner Harbhajan Singh his only wicket, West Indies appeared headed to the first innings lead, when their captain Darren Sammy joined Samuels, and they confidently added 43 for the eighth wicket.

 

Sammy was fortunate on 13, when Suresh Raina failed to hold an overhead chance of Praveen Kumar, but Sharma soon trapped him lbw for 15, taking the last three West Indies wickets in the space of six balls.

 

Ravi Rampaul and Fidel Edwards have both shown pretensions with the bat, but Sharma delivered two sharp bouncers to them, and third slip and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian captain, were the beneficiaries of catches.

 

Before lunch, West Indies suffered a major setback, when Shivnarine Chanderpaul was dismissed in the penultimate over before the interval.

West Indies reached 138 for six at lunch, having benefitted from a valuable 77 for the sixth wicket between Chanderpaul and Samuels. But Chanderpaul was bowled for 37, dragging a short delivery from Abhimanyu Mithun into his stumps.

 

The West Indies pair had to endure a delay lasting just over an hour before they could continue from the overnight position of 98 for five.

Chanderpaul and Samuels resisted doggedly, enduring blows to the helmet from Sharma to steady the West Indies innings. Samuels steered a delivery from Praveen Kumar between third slip and gully for his fourth boundary to usher the 50-run partnership between the pair.

 

Chanderpaul top-edged a hook at a short, rising delivery from Sharma to the fine leg boundary, and Samuels further expressed himself with a cut through square cover off the same bowler from the delivery after he was struck before Chanderpaul’s near four-hour long vigil came to an end.