Kingston: Debutant Praveen Kumar`s three-wicket burst gave India the upper hand by reducing West Indies to 119 for five in their first innings at lunch on the second day of the first cricket Test here on Tuesday.Scorecard: India Vs West Indies »
Praveen nipped out three crucial wickets on the second day morning to give the visitors hope for a first-innings lead despite their seemingly modest 246 total.
The young medium-pacer accounted for the wickets of Adrian Barath (64) and Darren Bravo (18) and later Brendan Nash (1) to see West Indies in a spot of bother with the home team still trailing India by 127 runs in the first innings.
Apart from Praveen (3/24), Ishant Sharma (2/17) was the other wicket-taker for India in the morning session.
Resuming at their overnight score of 34 for one, in reply to India`s 246 all out, West Indies lost overnight batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan (3) straightaway, lbw to Ishant before Barath and Bravo combined for a 55-run third-wicket stand.
Barath puzzled the Indians bowlers with his all-attack and all-defence methods and in the process raised only the second half century of his young career of six Tests.
The little Trinidadian showed a tight defence but choose his moments to attack the Indian bowlers when opportunities came his way.
Bravo, on the other hand, played the anchor role and the duo saw off the bowling pair of Ishant Sharma and Harbhajan Singh, who bowled almost the entire stretch of the opening hour.
West Indies batsmen adopted a cautious approach and scored only 37 runs off 14 overs in the first hour.
Barath moved into his 40s by thrusting Praveen off his pads to the mid-wicket fence and then his leg-spinner Amit Mishra for a four and a six down the ground of his first two deliveries of the day.
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni then decided to switch Praveen to the other end and it paid handsome dividends to the visitors.
There was no inkling of it when Barath off-drove Praveen to the cover fence but off the very next delivery which held its line, the little opener had edged a catch one to Dhoni behind the stumps.
Barath made 64 from 122 balls and hit nine fours and a six during his stay at the crease.
Praveen built on this success with another wicket in his next over when Bravo nicked a straight delivery to Dhoni behind the stumps.
Praveen then bowled a maiden to Brendan Nash but dismissed the left-hander in his next over when he induced a leading edge which was well-accepted by Suresh Raina at third slip.
Leg-spinner Mishra was the most listless of all Indian bowlers and gave away 28 runs from his five overs before lunch.