Rishabh Pant's audacious stroke-play complemented Ajinkya Rahane's patient approach as India reached 308 for four against the West Indies on the second day of the 2nd test on Saturday.
India are now only three runs short of West Indies' first innings total of 311. The Caribbeans could add only 16 runs in the morning session after Umesh Yadav polished off the tail with career-best figures of 6/88 in 26.4 overs.
While young Pant celebrated his ODI call-up with an attractive unbeaten 85 off 120 balls, vice-captain Rahane slogged hard to remain undefeated on 75 off 174 balls. Together, the duo added 146 runs for the fifth wicket after India lost in-form skipper Virat Kohli (45) to be reduced to 163 for 4.
This was after young Prithvi Shaw lit up the morning, smashing his way to 70 off 53 balls, providing some initial momentum.
Shaw's cover and off-drives were a treat for the eyes. The way he slashed Shannon Gabriel for a six over the third man or stood on toes to smash Jason Holder through point was eerily similar to Virender Sehwag's gameplay.
For Pant, it was more about brute power. He hit back-to-back sixes off left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican (1/76), who until his arrival had decent figures including the wicket of Shaw.
When off-spinner Roston Chase dropped short, he cut it ferociously. When leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo flighted the ball, he took a step forward and whacked it through mid-off. He hit 10 fours and two sixes.
Pant's approach also gave Rahane time to build his innings even though he never looked in control.
Umesh Yadav grabbed his six-for in the morning session, while Roston Chase reached three figures as Windies were all out for 311.
— ICC (@ICC) October 13, 2018
The Indians were also helped by poor fielding from the West Indians. It also didn't help their cause when their main keeper Shane Dowrich was sidelined following a nasty hit on the knee and reserve keeper Jahmar Hamilton wasn't up to the mark.
He dropped a regulation catch when Pant was on 24 off Shannon Gabriel (1/73) and it did prove to be costly as the youngster started taking the bowling apart. Skipper Virat Kohli 45 (78 balls) missed out on an opportunity to add another ton to his growing list of international hundreds as he looked in no trouble whatsoever during his stay at the crease.
He hit the cover drives well and ran singles at a time when India were in a spot of bother at 102 for 3 after Shaw and Cheteshwar Pujara (10) were dismissed in quick succession. Kohli was the dominant partner in the 60-run stand for the fourth wicket as Rahane was initially struggling to score runs. He was finally dismissed by Holder with an incoming delivery.
On a reasonably good day, what stuck out like a sore thumb was yet another failure from opener KL Rahul (4), who seemed to be batting on a different pitch from his other colleagues. Earlier, West Indies added only 16 runs to their overnight total with Roston Chase 106 (189 balls) deservedly completing his fourth Test hundred.