West Indies battling to save match, series

Kolkata : The West Indies were battling for survival in the series after collapsing without a fight in their first innings and suffering a follow-on against India on the third day of the second cricket Test here Wednesday.

At stumps, the visitors were 195/3, and still needing 283 runs to save an innings debacle at the Eden Gardens.

Darren Bravo (38 batting; 84 b, 1×4, 3×6) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (21 batting; 40 b, 3×4) were at the crease.

The Caribbeans are already 0-1 down in the three-Test series after a five-wicket defeat in the opener at Delhi.

In the morning, the spin-pace combination of Pragyan Ojha (4-64) and Umesh Yadav (3-23) wrecked havoc as India enforced the follow on after bundling out their rivals for only 153.

Resuming at 34/2 overnight, the visitors seemed all at sea negotiating the Indian bowlers on a wicket still good for batting and lost their remaining eight wickets inside an extended morning session to concede a huge first innings lead of 478. India had declared their first essay close at 633/7.

In the second innings, however, the Caribbeans put up a gritty fight with opener Adrian Barath (62; 105b, 10×4) and Kirk Edwards (60; 128 b, 6×4, 1×6) adding 93 runs for the second wicket after the early dismissal of Kraigg Brathwaite (9).

The Trinidadian-Barbadian duo, both of whom hold the distinction of scoring hundreds on Test debut, tried to reverse the plot as they carried their team to 116/1 at tea.

Barath reached his third 50 in eight Tests with a single by pushing a Ravichandran Ashwin delivery in the point region but was lucky to survive a close leg before decision in the same over and at the same score.

The 27-year-old Edwards broke off from his cautious approach when he picked up Ojha for special treatment with a boundary through mid off and a six over long off in consecutive deliveries.

However, Barath’s essay came to a close in the fourth ball after tea when he attempted a cover drive off Ishant Sharma but only managed an outside edge, which was taken close to the ground by V.V.S. Laxman at first slip.

Edwards and Darren Bravo were then involved in a 45-run stand that took the team past the 150-mark.

Edwards, who had earlier got to his second Test half-century with a boundary off Sharma, departed as he missed a delivery from the same bowler that straightened after pitching and rapped the batsman plumb in front of the stumps. West Indies were then 161/3.

Sharma (2/41) was the toast of the Indian bowlers in the later innings as he moved the ball both ways, particularly in the later overs, and caused quite a few problems to Edwards

In the morning, Yadav maintained a tight line and length and got movement both off the pitch and in the air. In 25-year-old Ojha, India seem to have got a left arm spinner capable of flighting the ball delightfully and pose problems for batsmen even on tracks giving slight turn.

West Indies lost Kirk Edwards (16) in the day’s fifth over when he played for a non-existent turn and was adjudged leg before to Pragyan Ojha, who got his 50th Test wicket.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, known for his proficiency against Indian spinners, walked in next, but did not last long. The big wicket fell, when the Guyanese played across the line to offie Ravichandran Ashwin and was struck on pads. He scored only 4 and West Indies were then 46/4.

Bravo (30; 56b, 6×4) and Marlon Samuels (25) tried to stage a fightback cobbling up a 46-run stand for the fifth wicket, but their brief resistance ended with Yadav dismissing them in consecutive overs.

Yadav unsettled Bravo with an angular delivery which the batsman edged on to the stumps. The 24-year-old Vidarbha player then saw he back of Samuels with a beauty that pitched around the middle stump and straightened off the pitch to uproot the stumps.

West Indies were then reduced to 99 for six.

Skipper Darren Sammy (18) became Ojha’s third victim, while Kemar Roach (2) was outside the crease at the non-striker’s end when the a drive from Carlton Baugh (13) hit Ojha’s shoes and hit the stumps.

Ojha then snared Baugh, before the last wicket stand of Fidel Edwards (16) and Devendra Bishoo (8 not out) stretched the innings for some more time with a 24-run partnership.

The innings came to an end 140 minutes into the day’s play when Ojha got Edwards leg before.

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