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Test Cricket: India post 438 runs in first inning against WI in second and final test:  At stumps WI 86/1

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Kraigg Brathwaite and Tagenarine Chanderpaul frustrated India with a watchful half-century stand after the visitors finished their innings with 438 on the board on Day 2 of the second Test in Port of Spain. India managed to end their resistance with the wicket of Chanderpaul but Brathwaite and Kirk McKenzie ensured that it was the only success with the ball for the visiting team as West Indies went into Stumps on Friday (July 21) at 86/1, although they still had a deficit of 352 standing before them.

Brathwaite and Chanderpaul began watchfully in reply to India’s sizeable total, with the Indian new-ball duo of Mohammed Siraj and Jaydev Unadkat bowling testing lines. Barring a delivery which Siraj strayed on the pads and was put away for a four by Brathwaite, and a firm push by the West India captain off Unadkat for three, the openers were kept in check by the pacers. R Ashwin was introduced into the attack in the 11th over and debutant Mukesh Kumar got the ball for the 14th. They continued to test the West Indian openers, who were happy to play the wait and watch game.

The second four of the innings, which came off Brathwaite’s bat, was a guide past the slip cordon off Mukesh in the 18th over. The ball was changed a three of times but it didn’t help India much as the pitch not offering much for the bowlers. Chanderpaul, meanwhile, hit his first boundary by paddle sweeping Ashwin in the 19th over, and repeated it in the same over for the same result. The openers took 22 overs to raise a half-century stand, batting with resolve to deny India wickets. Ravindra Jadeja, who bowled in tandem with Ashwin, bowled a string of maidens but the West Indies openers were in no hurry.

Siraj, brought back into the attack, went short and had Chanderpaul in trouble a couple of times but he also was struck for two fours. The partnership, which extended to 71, was the highest opening partnership for West Indies against India since the 137 added by Brathwaite and Adrian Barath in Mumbai in 2011. But it came to an end when Jadeja had Chanderpaul edging to short third man. Debutant Kirk McKenzie announced his arrival in grand style, striking a six off Ashwin over long-off and driving a Jadeja delivery through covers for a four, and remained unbeaten along with Brathwaite at the end of the day’s play.

Earlier, Kohli ended the wait for his first away Test hundred since December 2018 as his 29th Test century put India in a position of strength. Kohli equalled Sir Don Bradman’s tally of Test hundreds early on Day 2 and was involved in big partnership with Jadeja to power India’s progress. Although West Indies dismissed the set batters during the session, the advantage was with India thanks to the Kohli and Jadeja who led India’s revival after they had slipped to 182/4 on Day 1.

West Indies opted for the second new ball right at the start of the day but Kohli and Jadeja were untroubled as they both reached their personal milestones and extended their partnership past 150, with boundaries coming regularly. But the stand came to an end when Kohli found himself short at the non-striker’s end as a direct hit from Joseph ended his 206-ball stay. Ishan Kishan came out with a positive mindset, taking on Jomel Warrican to score a couple of boundaries. But Jadeja’s innings also came to an end in the opening session as he went for an expansive drive only to edge the Kemar Roach delivery to the ‘keeper, with West Indies using the DRS to send him back. Despite the wickets, India had a productive session as they managed 85 runs at a run rate of over 3.5.

Ashwin’s steady 56 then took India past 400 in the second session. It was slightly slow going for India for a large part of the post-lunch period with Ashwin having to bat with the lower order for the majority of the period, but he managed to come up with an important contribution and score some quick runs towards the end as he ensured India crossed the 400 mark. But West Indies did not allow the tail to wag too long, taking the last four wickets for 45 runs.

Kishan, who was involved in a 33-run stand with Ashwin, got a lucky break when McKenzie failed to take a tough catch. But the Indian wicketkeeper-batter could not capitalise as he fell the very next ball, getting caught behind. Ashwin then used the DRS to reverse a leg-before decision in Warrican’s over, and used his feet to the spinner to get some runs. A 23-run association between Ashwin and Unadkat came to an end when the latter was stumped off Warrican.

Siraj was dismissed soon after, leg-before to Warrican, with West Indies using the review successfully this time. But India chose to review the decision with the ball seemingly hitting Siraj’s front pad first which could have resulted in the decision being overturned but the original decision on impact was upheld for the second time. This was the second instance of DRS being under the spotlight after the broadcasters showed different footage of Jadeja’s caught behind review when the decision was initially made, with bat seemingly close to pad, and then changing it during the Tea break with the commentator Darren Ganga quoting that the right decision was made eventually. With No.11 Mukesh at the crease, Ashwin struck a flurry of boundaries to cross fifty before he became the last to depart as Roach picked up three along with Warrican.

Brief scores: India 438 (Virat Kohli 121, Rohit Sharma 80, Ravindra Jadeja 61, Yashasvi Jaiswal 57, R Ashwin 56; Jomel Warrican 3-89, Kemar Roach 3-104) lead West Indies 86/1 (Kraigg Brathwaite 37*, Tagenarine Chanderpaul 33; Ravindra Jadeja 1-12) by 352 runs.

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