Edwards and Bravo consolidate for Windies

Brathwaite and Barath added 137 for the opening wicket

In-form Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo capped an impressive West Indies batting performance with unbeaten half-centuries on the opening day of the third and final Test against India on Tuesday.

Edwards (65 not out) and left-handed Bravo (57 not out) put on 117 for the unfinished third-wicket stand as the West Indies reached 267-2 at stumps in their first innings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

The tourists suffered a setback even before the first ball had been bowled when key batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul was ruled out of the Test due to a calf injury.

But the West Indies made the most of winning the toss on a good batting track, with teenager Kraigg Brathwaite (68) and Adrian Barath (62) adding 137 for the opening wicket to give their team a solid start.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin removed the well-set openers in four overs in the afternoon session, but there was no respite for India as Edwards and Bravo executed attractive shots.

"We lost two wickets, but we have two batsmen who are well set. We would like to dominate tomorrow with the two batsmen getting big scores. I will say it is the best pitch we have played on this tour," said Brathwaite.

"It's good to get two fifties against India (in the series). It has done good to my confidence."

India took the second new ball in the 85th over, but failed to break the Edwards-Bravo stand.

Edwards, who scored a century on Test debut against India in Dominica in July, extended his impressive run in Test cricket as he has so far made two hundreds and three half-centuries in six matches.

He has so far hit 10 fours in his 117-ball knock in the ongoing Test.

Bravo, who cracked a brilliant 136 in the last Test in Kolkata, was lucky to survive on 33 when he was dropped by Rahul Dravid at lone slip off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. He hit seven fours in his seventh Test half-century.

India struggled for success on a first-day pitch which had little in it for the bowlers as they went wicketless in the opening and last sessions.

"It was a good wicket and I feel there will be a lot of runs scored in the next four days," said Indian debutant paceman Varun Aaron.

"One has to work hard for wickets, especially on such a pitch."

The hosts had to wait for more than three hours for their first wicket, with Ashwin having Barath caught behind. Barath, who scored 62 in the last match, hit eight fours in his second successive Test half-century.

Ashwin struck again when he removed Brathwaite, with Virat Kohli holding a bat-pad catch at forward short-leg. Brathwaite cracked eight fours in his third Test half-century.

Brathwaite, who turns 19 next month, was dropped on 57 by Venkatsai Laxman at backward short-leg off Ashwin, but failed to capitalise on the chance as he could add only 11 more runs.

The West Indies openers batted patiently in the morning, with Barath playing some handsome shots especially against Aaron and Ishant Sharma in the opening hour.

Barath fluently drove Aaron through the covers and turned him to fine-leg for fours before cover-driving Sharma for another boundary.

He continued to punish loose deliveries, cutting and driving Ashwin for two fours in an over.

The hosts lead 2-0 in the series after winning the opening Test in New Delhi by five wickets and the second match in Kolkata by an innings and 15 runs.

The West Indies made two changes from the side that played in the last Test as they brought in batsman Kieran Powell and paceman Ravi Rampaul in place of Chanderpaul and Kemar Roach.

Scorecard

West Indies 1st innings:

A. Barath c Dhoni b Ashwin 62

K. Brathwaite c Kohli b Ashwin 68

K. Edwards not out 65

D. Bravo not out 57

Extras (b4, lb10, nb1) 15

Total (for two wickets; 91 overs) 267

Fall of wickets: 1-137 (Barath), 2-150 (Brathwaite).

Bowling: Sharma 17-6-33-0 (nb1), Aaron 16-3-47-0, Ojha 26-7-55-0, Ashwin 27-2-86-2, Sehwag 3-0-23-0, Kohli 2-0-9-0.

Toss: West Indies

Umpires: Tony Hill (NZL) and Bruce Oxenford (AUS)

TV umpire: Shavir Tarapore (IND)

Match referee: David Boon (AUS)

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