St. Lucia, Aug 13 (IANS) Chasing an imposing 346-run target, West Indies were struggling to draw the match with 53/3 at lunch as India tightened the grip on the fifth and final day of the third Test at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium here on Saturday.
With a 128-run lead from the first innings of 353 as against 225 by Windies, India declared their second innings at 217/7 after 48 overs in the first hour of the morning session, with in-form Ajinkya Rahane unbeaten on 78 from 116 balls while Caribbean pacer Miguel Cummins took six wickets for 48 runs in 11 overs.
In reply, Windies openers Kraig Brathwaite and Leon Johnson found the going tough, as Indian pacers Mohammed Shami and Bhuvenshwar Kumar were able to swing the ball both ways to unsettle them.
As planned, Shami made Johnson pop an easy catch to Rohit Sharma at short leg for a duck in the fourth over, while Kumar trapped Brathwaite leg before the wicket (LBW) in the following over for four from 20 balls to reduce Windies to 4/2 in five overs.
Though one-down Darren Bravo managed to stay on for a long haul, Marlon Samuels struggled to survive and scored his first run (a single) after facing 20 balls.
Joining the attack from the other end, pacer Ishant Sharma had Samuels’ off-stump cart-wheeling in the 14th over of the innings for 12 runs in 27 balls with two boundaries.
Roston Chase joined Bravo to play on for the remaining session before lunch.
Earlier, resuming the innings from the overnight score of 157/3 in 39 overs on a sunny but humid day, India lost four wickets for just 60 runs in nine overs to an attacking bowling, especially by Cummins.
Sharma, who scored a breezy 41 in 59 balls with three mighty sixes and a boundary on the fourth day (Friday), was the first to go when a Cummins’ straight delivery hit him on the leg before the wicket (LBW) for the same score.
Though keeper Wriddhiman Saha (14 in 14 balls) and Ravindra Jadeja (16 in 13 balls) made useful contributions to the score and helped Rahane to rotate the strike with quick singels and twos, both fell to Cummins who was in great form.
Brief scores: West Indies 53/3 in second innings (Bravo 26 not out, Chase 10 not out).
India 353 in first innings; 217 for 7 declared in second innings (Ajinkya Rahane 78 not out, Rohit Sharma 41, Lokesh Rahul 28, Shikhar Dhawan 26, Miguel Cummins 6/48)