Kingston, Aug 1 (IANS) Ajinkya Rahane and Wriddhiman Saha displayed loads of grit and patience to take India to 425/6 at lunch on the third day on Monday of the second cricket Test against the West Indies at the Sabina Park Stadium here.
At lunch, Rahane was unbeaten on 74 runs. The Mumbai right-hander hit 11 boundaries and a six during his 176-ball battle in the middle. India were leading by 229 runs at the break.
Saha, on the other hand, was unlucky to miss out on what would have been an extremely well-deserved half-century as he was dismissed on the last ball before tea.
The Bengal wicketkeeper-batsman scored 47 runs before being outfoxed by a delivery from fast bowler Jason Holder that stayed a bit low after pitching.
The West Indies bowlers produced a better performance than what they had on the second day, helped on in no small part by a wicket which is beginning to wear down a bit.
Holder was the only West Indies bowler to taste success in the pre-lunch session, returning figures of 1/66 from the 32 overs he has bowled so far.
With the wicket showing appreciable movement and bounce, he exploited the conditions well to make the going tough for the Indian batsmen, outfoxing them time and again.
Rahane in particular had a very hard time against Holder, with one particular over seeing the pacer beat the Mumbai batsman as many as five times. Indeed, Holder was unlucky not to bag more wickets.
Leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo was also impressive, making the ball turn sharply to cause plenty of trouble for the batsmen.
Bishoo was also unlucky not bag Rahane’s wicket when the latter was on 65. The Mumbai batsman attempted to cut a delivery that was not short enough. The top edge looped up to the right of point where Rajendra Chandrika dropped a relatively easy chance.
Resuming the day at 358/5, Rahane and Saha braved the difficult conditions and excellent bowling to plow on patiently and to build up the visitors’ lead.
Rahane reached his half-century in style, cutting pacer Miguel Cummins over the slip cordon for a boundary.
However, with the boundaries too few and far between, the scoring rate became a bit slow.
Luck finally smiled on the holder on the stroke of lunch when an incoming delivery stayed a bit low and Saha misread the bounce only to see the ball strike him on the rear pad.
The sturdy right-armer celebrated as the teams went in for lunch, but with the pitch starting to show signs of wear and tear, the hosts may struggle once they come out to bat in their second innings.
Brief scores: West Indies 196 all out (Jermaine Blackwood 62, Marlon Samuels 37; Ravichandran Ashwin 5/52, Mohammed Shami 2/23) vs India 425/6 (Lokesh Rahul 158; Ajinkya Rahane 74 not out; Roston Chase 2/91).