India in hunt for their first win in over 6 Tests
Vineet Ramakrishan/Zeenews Sports
New Delhi: It is not proving to be the cakewalk as it was supposed to be for Team India. The crumbling Kotla pitch has ensured that Indian batsmen do drop a sweat or more in search for their first win in Tests since they defeated West Indies back in June earlier this year.
On his 300th Test innings Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar etched his name in the record books one more time as the only player in the history of the game to cross 15,000 Test runs on Day 3 of the Kotla Test versus West Indies and along with another great player Rahul Dravid, he held the fort for India on a tricky day.
India finished Day 3 with 152 on board with the loss of two wickets and they require 124 runs more to win the first Test. The final session of Day 3 was dominated by an enterprising 55 by Sehwag before Dravid and Sachin went into their shell playing out the day.
Day 3 belonged to India overall with Indian bowlers taking charge in the first session picking up 5 Windies wickets for just 88 runs.
Ravichandran Ashwin also had a memorable day claiming a 6-for thus making him only the second player from India after Narendra Hirwani to take a 5 wicket haul on debut.
However, West Indies did have their moments as well with captain Darren Sammy bludgeoning the Indian pacers en route to his quickfire 42. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who has been by far the best batsmen on display from either side pitched in with a handy 47.
With Kotla ticket prices slashed to Rs.100 (min. ticket value), Day 4 spectators might be in for a small session only but would be witnessing a long awaited Indian Test win and a possibility of Sachin’s much prolonged milestone that you might be knowing off.
Final Session: 15,000 and counting for Sachin
In the final session, Dravid and Sachin ensured that there were no hiccups after the fall of Sehwag as both the veterans played out Day 3 of the Kotla Test.
Sachin might not not have reached his 100th ton but he did reach another milestone in the form of 15,000 Test runs.
Earlier, Darren Sammy provided the most vital breakthrough for West Indies with the wicket of Virender Sehwag. The charismatic opener was bowled by Sammy after an enterprising run a ball 55.
Virender Sehwag had earlier set aside the Kotla demons to score an enerprising 50 to boost the Indian run chase.
Gautam Gambhir perished after an enterprising knock of 22 but Sehwag is maintaining the high run-rate in chase of 276.
Second Session: Windies tail frustrates India
The Delhi duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir lived dangerously in chase of 276 and going into tea the score read 38 for no loss.
Viru in his usual manner started off with a flurry of boundaries and kept on rotating the strike, on occasions by stealing risky singles.
In the Windies second innings,The West Indian tail wagged considerably to put up a solid effort accumulating a lead of 275 courtesy a quickfire 42 by Sammy and a breezy 47 by Chanderpaul.
West Indies in their second innings scored 180 runs and from being 84 for 7 the recovery by the lower-order and the tail was fantastic. Evidently the last three partnerships added 96 runs for the Caribbean islanders.
For India, Ravichandran Ashwin finished with six wickets and took the last wicket of Ravi Rampaul. He had earlier completed a 5-for on debut by scalping the hard hitting Darren Sammy. But Sammy had done the damage as the all-rounder got some quick runs for his team.
He scored 42 off just 37 balls aided by a massive six straight down the ground and five boundaries.
Ashwin provided the breakthroughs whenever it was needed and he also trapped Chanderpaul leg before wicket. Chanderpaul was playing for the spin but the ball pitched on middle and leg and the angle took the ball straight towards middle hitting his pads. Rob Tucker did not hesitate to raise his finger immediately.
Chanderpaul, though again played a valuable knock of 47 off just 58 deliveries ensuring that West Indies have a substantial amount of lead over India.
First Session: Indian bowlers take top honours
Five wickets were plucked by the Indian bowlers in the first session conceding 88 runs in the process that has put them in a strong position.
Chanderpaul played a counter-attacking innings with strike rate near about 90 runs per 100 balls during the session.
In a pitch were the rest of the inexperienced batsman failed to apply themselves, the diminutive southpaw played with intent giving a lesson in batting in unfavourable conditions.
Along with the double strike by Ashwin, Umesh Yadav also picked up his second wicket of the day in the form of keeper Carlton Baugh as India chipped away at the Windies batting line-up in the morning session.
As was the case on the first session on Day 2, Indian spinners got into the act again during an overcast Day 3 morning session to hand back India the advantage at Kotla.
Debutant Ravichandran Ashwin's guile and accuracy was on display as he removed both Darren Bravo (12) and Marlon Samuels (0) with two cracker deliveries.
The demons in the Kotla pitch is surely making it a tough ask for the batsmen in the middle.
Earlier, Pacer Umesh Yadav got his maiden Test wicket in the form of set batsman Kirk Edwards. Edwards had played a good hand of 33 from 80 deliveries.
Umesh Yadav clean bowled Kirk Edwards who was playing well and was in no trouble watsoever until he misjudged the angle of the ball leaving his bat in the air only to see his off-stump going for a walk in the park.
After the departure of Fidel Edwards early on, Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo had build on the WI lead in a cautious manner.
Bravo have had a few close calls and he had trouble facing the left arm spinner Prgyan Ojha. Edwards one the other hand had looked solid and composed till the time he was in the middle.
Pacer Ishant Sharma sent nightwatchman Fidel Edwards packing in the third over of the day.
West Indies would have hoped that their nightwatchman could hang around for an hour or so to frustrate the Indian bowlers but Ishant Sharma did the need full scalping Edwards for just one run.
It was an eventful Day 2 at Kotla which saw 17 wickets falling on a crumbling patch with West Indies nose tip ahead at the end of the day.
The West Indies scorecard read 21/2 at stumps on Day 2, with a lead of 116 runs over the home team.
Darren Sammy had produced a superlative spell late on Day 2 and the likes of Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma would be looking to exploit the slow Kotla pitch early on.
Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin provided the vital breakthrough on Day 2 and they would be expected to take top honours in the first session.
For West Indies, they failed to grab the opportunity by losing the two opening wickets but this would be a perfect platform for Bravo, Chanderpaul and Edwards to consolidate and take the fight to India.