India vs West Indies: Spirited West Indies take afternoon session in style

Tea India 182 for 4 (Kohli 18*, Holder 1-22, Warrican 1-26) vs West Indies

After India rattled along at nearly five runs an over in a wicketless first session, West Indies slowed them down with four wickets in the second. Jason Holder, who kept threatening the outside edge of Yashasvi Jaiswal either side of lunch, made the first incision when he had Jaiswal caught by debutant Kirk McKenzie at deepish gully for 57 off 74 balls. Kemar Roach and Jomel Warrican then accounted for the wickets of Shubman Gill (10) and Rohit Sharma (80) respectively. It was Shannon Gabriel who capped the afternoon session by sending Ajinkya Rahane’s off stump cartwheeling with an inducker. India were 182 for 4 at tea on day one.
Virat Kohli, who was featuring in his 500th international game, was unbeaten on 18 off 44 balls on a slow Queen’s Park Oval track that had started to offer some turn.

Warrican extracted just enough turn to beat the outside edge of Rohit and hit the off stump. Kraigg Brathwaite had introduced his only specialist spinner into the attack as early as the tenth over, but he had not got as much purchase in the morning session.

Gill, India’s new No. 3, nicked Kemar Roach behind to local lad Joshua da Silva. Roach had tricked Gill into playing for the inward angle, but this ball held its line to kiss the outside edge.

West Indies would have been particularly relieved to see the back of Jaiswal, who’d had two lives already. McKenzie could have cut his innings short on 4 had he not let Jaiswal’s thick outside edge burst through his hands at gully in the sixth over. Jaiswal could have also been dismissed on 52 in the last over before lunch, but Alick Athanaze grassed an easier chance at first slip off Holder.

Holder relentlessly kept probing away outside off though, often with two gully fielders in place, and earned his reward in the second session, with McKenzie confidently holding on to Jaiswal’s catch this time.

Kohli had taken 21 balls to get off the mark and Rahane also batted at a similar low tempo in a passage of play that starkly contrasted with the morning session in which India ran up 121 runs in 26 overs without losing a wicket.

Having shown remarkable restraint on debut in Dominica, Jaiswal dashed out of the blocks on a more benign Port-of-Spain track. Rohit Sharma, too, kept pulling in the air, from wide lines as well as from his body, despite the presence of two men in the deep on the leg-side boundary.
Rohit needed 72 balls to get to his half-century, while Jaiswal got there off just 49 balls. Rohit and Jaiswal were the first Indian opening pair to have struck up back-to-back century stands in Test cricket in this millennium. S Ramesh and Devang Gandhi were the previous Indian opening pair with back-to-back century partnerships, in 1999 against New Zealand.
Gabriel, who had returned to the playing XI in place of an ill Rahkeem Cornwall, couldn’t pose a threat to India’s openers. His morning shift of four overs cost West Indies 24 runs, but he came back to produce a much sharper spell in the afternoon.

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