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IND v WI 2nd Test: West Indies at 229/5, day 3

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In cricket, West Indies were 229 for 5 at Stumps in the second and final Test against India at Port of Spain in Trinidad last night. India bowlers toiled hard, managing four wickets as a defensive West Indies crawled their way to 229 for five on a rain-marred third day on 22nd July 2023.

With a couple of rain interruptions, only 67 overs were possible in which West Indies added just 143 runs. The hosts are still 209 runs behind India’s first innings score of 438. Two wickets by Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Siraj helped India solidify their grip on the second Test.

Earlier, India scored 438 runs in their first innings, riding on magnificent 121-run innings by Virat Kohli. With this ton, Kohli has reached the milestone of 29 Test centuries of the legendary Sir Don Bradman. Skipper Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, and Yashasvi Jaiswal scored 50-plus runs for the visitors.

The West Indies batters chipped away at the deficit in a patient manner but timely strikes from the Indian bowlers put the visitors in a position of advantage at the end of a rain-hit Day 3 of the second Test in Port of Spain. Kraigg Brathwaite’s 235-ball 75 led West Indies’ watchful approach but the other batters, who also showcased restraint, could not convert their promising starts into bigger contributions as the hosts went into Stumps on Saturday (July 22) at 229/5, trailing by 209. West Indies, who scored only 143 runs in the 67 overs bowled in the day’s play, will bank on Alick Athanaze (37*) and Jason Holder (11*) to lead them closer to India’s first-innings score.

Rain cut short the opening session with only 10.4 overs possible in the pre-Lunch period. Jaydev Unadkat was expensive at the start of the day, being struck for boundaries by Kirk McKenzie. Mohammed Siraj bowled testing lines but the batters kept him at bay, with Brathwaite continuing with his solid batting. R Ashwin came on with 10-odd minutes left in the first hour but it was Mukesh Kumar who dismissed fellow debutant McKenzie as the batter looked play it through the off side but edged to the ‘keeper to depart for 32, ending a 46-run stand. It started raining soon after, forcing the players off the field and the umpires called for early Lunch.

Brathwaite crossed fifty early in the second session, getting there with a couple off Mukesh. The pacer tried to go short at Brathwaite who managed to clear the fence with an awkward pull for his first six. There were also extra runs for Brathwaite via overthrows and the West Indies captain punched an Ashwin delivery for three runs. India were otherwise disciplined, bowling in the right channels with persistence, but Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood were up to the task as they built a watchful partnership and ensured that they put away the loose deliveries.

Ashwin ended the partnership worth 40 off 128 deliveries, getting the better of Brathwaite’s defence with drift and spin. Athanaze looked to play his shots, executing sweeps and a cut off Ashwin to get going. India then lost a review when they went up for a caught behind appeal off Blackwood in Jadeja’s over while Athanaze survived a leg-before appeal and a review from India in Ashwin’s over, with the umpire’s call saving the batter. Blackwood and Athanaze batted through for the remainder of the extended second session, with only 57 runs being scored in 35.4 overs.

Jadeja struck early in the third session, getting one to turn sharply off the rough to catch the edge of Blackwood’s bat, with Ajinkya Rahane taking a stunning one-handed catch at first slip to end a 21-run fourth wicket partnership that came off 83 deliveries. Jadeja and Unadkat bowled in tandem and had the batters in trouble on a few occasions but Athanaze and Joshua Da Silva kept West Indies going as they took their side past the 200 mark. But their stand came to an end when Da Silva was bowled by an incoming delivery from Siraj. But just like the first session, rain stopped play soon after a wicket.

Play resumed after a nearly an hour’s break due to rain, with Siraj and Ashwin continuing the bowling. India opted for the second new ball in the 103rd over, with Mukesh and Siraj operating with it. Mukesh found some movement and troubled Athanaze on a couple of occasions, but no damage was done. With the light fadiing, India got Jadeja to bowl one over but the umpires decided to call it Stumps soon after.

Brief scores: India 438 lead West Indies 229/5 (Kraigg Brathwaite 75, Alick Athanaze 37*; Ravindra Jadeja 2-37, Mukesh Kumar 1-35) by 209 runs.

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