Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Bravo’s ton puts Windies in command

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Mumbai: Powered by a sparkling 166 by Darren Bravo, West Indies on Wednesday piled up a mammoth 575 for nine on the second day of the third and final Test against India on a wicket that has turned out to be a batsman’s paradise.

India struck in the post-tea session by knocking off five wickets for 81 runs but the young and inexperienced West Indies batsmen put up the big score led by Bravo, for whom it was the second successive century after his effort of 136 in Kolkata.

With the wicket showing no signs of help to the bowlers and unless the formidable Indian batting puts up a bad show, a result in the match is unlikely.

The left-handed Bravo, overnight 57 in the team score of 267 for two, was instrumental in West Indies’ dominating batting display for the second consecutive day.

He was out in the last session while chasing a wide ball from Varun Aaron to give the debutant Indian pacer his maiden Test wicket after five fruitless sessions of toil.

However, by the time the classy batsman was dismissed, the visitors had amassed over 500 runs on a featherbed pitch at Wankhede Stadium with the three century stands — for the first, third and fourth wickets — being the fulcrum of their effort against the hapless home team attack.

Bravo’s dismissal triggered a collapse in which the visitors lost four wickets for the addition of only 48 runs.

Aaron struck a purple patch after getting his first wicket by adding two more scalps in his impressive fourth spell, sending back Carlton Baugh and visiting team captain Darren Sammy cheaply to end the day with figures of three for 106.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who failed to add any scalp to the two he had taken yesterday in the first two sessions, claimed two in the final period of play to finish with four for 154. The other two wickets were shared by Ishant Sharma and Pragyan Ojha.

From the tea score of 494 for four, the West Indies quickly slumped to 566 for nine with Aaron and Ashwin striking quick blows.

The former had a fine post-tea spell of 6-0-29-3 while the rookie off-spinner took his tally in the three-match debut series to an impressive 17.

The star-studded Indian batting line-up, which includes Sachin Tendulkar playing on his home ground and looking forward to his elusive 100th international hundred, need to match the West Indies in their approach if they have to avoid the follow on though there appeared to be no devil on the track.

In the morning, the visitors continued to grind the hapless Indian bowling attack on a batsman-friendly track to take total control of the inconsequential match.

Bravo, who slammed his third century in four Tests and second on the trot against India, added 164 runs for the third wicket with Kirk Edwards and then 160 runs for the fourth with Kieran Powell to ensure that his side stayed on top of the home side.

The two huge partnerships, after the opening stand of 137 yesterday between Adrian Barath and Kraigg Brathwaite, helped West Indies inch close to the 500 mark, the visitors adding 111 runs in the first session and 116 in the second.

Edwards added 21 runs this morning to his overnight score before edging pacer Ishant Sharma to home team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the stumps. His 86 off 165 balls contained 13 fours and he fell just before the end of the first hour.

For the next three hours to tea break, the Indians could add the wicket of only Powell to their kitty.

Powell, who faced 149 balls during his aggressive knock, was out for 81 when he edged left-arm spinner Ojha to Dhoni behind the stumps.

The post-lunch period saw the left-handed duo of Bravo and Powell holding complete control over the listless Indian bowling attack for most of the two-hour session on a easy-paced track.

The slowness of the track allowed Powell to lean back and punch the Indian bowlers through the off-side for runs in boundaries.

Even Sachin Tendulkar, bowling leg breaks, was used as the seventh bowler by Dhoni. (PTI)

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