Rain mars day one`s play after India`s early strikes
Roseau (Dominica): Rain played spoilsport as only 31.1 overs were possible on the opening day of the third and final cricket Test against between India and West Indies on Wednesday.
Sent into bat, the hosts were 75 for three when the heavens opened up shortly after the lunch break, and it stayed that way till the day`s play was finally called off at 4.15 pm local time.
Darren Bravo was batting on 22 while Shivnarine Chanderpaul was unbeaten on 17, with the two adding 40 runs for the fourth wicket in 14.2 overs.
Before that, the Indian seamers had West Indies in a spot of bother, picking up three early wickets.
In-form pacer Ishant Sharma struck twice while Praveen Kumar chipped in with one as West Indies went to lunch at 64 for three at the Windsor Park.
After Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to bowl with the hope that his seamers would get the team some quick wickets, Ishant and Praveen lived up to the skipper`s expectations by removing Adrian Barath and debutantes Kieran Powell and Kirk Edwards.
Ishant showed no after-effects of a facial injury he suffered yesterday, returning figures of two for 23.
While Kumar gave the team its first breakthrough by having Powell caught at second slip by VVS Laxman, Ishant, bowling the bouncers to good effect, sent back Barath and Edwards.
Ishant, who rattled the hosts with a 10-wicket haul in the drawn second Test at Kensington Oval, looked in good nick here as well.
Munaf Patel, playing in his first Test of the three-match series at the expense of Abhimanyu Mithun, bowled economically, though without success.
If Praveen and Ishant began with maiden overs, Munaf, who returned to Test cricket after two years, did even better as first change by bowling three maidens on the trot.
Earlier Powell, who got his first Test runs -- a three off a push into covers against Ishant -- didn`t get to score any further as Praveen found the edge of his defensive bat with a peach of a delivery.
Barath, after being flustered with a caught behind appeal down the legside by Ishant, edged a pull onto his stumps off the very next delivery.
Ishant picked up his third wicket of the morning when he had Edwards who was unlucky to be judged caught behind by debutant Test umpire Richard Kettleborough of England as the rising delivery hit his helmet, and not the bat, on way to Dhoni.
West Indies would now look to Bravo and veteran Chanderpaul to bail them out.
This is Chanderpaul`s 133rd Test match, the highest by any West Indian cricketer. Courtney Walsh, with 132 Tests under his belt, held the previous record.
Bravo looked the best of all home batsmen and scored two fours, a square cut against Ishant past point and then, a backfoot cover drive against Harbhajan Singh.
The two had added collected their runs in a rather secure manner on a pitch that didn`t live upto its reputation of being quick and bouncy.
Bravo had struck three fours in his knock and Chanderpaul one, before the weather gods intervened.
Ironically, the day had begun in complete contrast as a bright, sunny day greeted the two sides.
West Indies began cautiously on a pitch that was fairly damp but did not offer much sideways movement to India`s pacers.
But West Indies still lost three wickets early in the day and found the going so tough that only two boundaries - both by left-hander Bravo - were scored in the two-hour session.
While Munaf is the only change in the Indian line-up, West Indies made two changes, with Powell and Edwards being preferred over Lendl Simmons and Ramnaresh Sarwan.