Dravid steadies Indian ship
Rahul Dravid survived an early chance, and batted doggedly, giving India the upper hand in the first Test against West Indies on Tuesday.
The former Indian captain was on 45 not out, as India reached 91 for three in their second innings - an overall lead of 164 - at the close on the second day of the first Test.
Fortune smiled on Dravid on six, when West Indies captain Darren Sammy dropped him at second slip off Ravi Rampaul.
Dravid kept his nerve, and defied West Indies with resolute batting, offering little or no chances for the remainder of the day.
He added 56 for the second wicket with Abhinav Mukund, fortifying India's position, after Ishant Sharma collected three for 29 from 17 overs, and fellow fast bowler Praveen Kumar three for 38 from 18 overs in his test debut, as West Indies were dismissed for 173 about 25 minutes before tea.
The visitors were short-handed in the later stages of the West Indies innings, when Kumar was barred from bowling, after running onto the protected area of the pitch.
But his team-mates adjusted well to the challenge, and outside of opener Adrian Barath, whose 64 was the top score, no other West Indies batsman made a substantial contribution.
Murali Vijay then fell early, when India batted a second time, trapped lbw playing back and across for one to a delivery from Rampaul that kept low in the second over.
Mukund was caught behind for 25, top edging a cut off Devendra Bishoo, and next over, Sammy held a return catch to dismiss V.V.S. Laxman for a duck, leaving India 57 for three.
Virat Kohli survived a late barrage of short-pitched bowling from Fidel Edwards in the closing stages, batting through the remainder of the day with Dravid to enhance India's position.
Earlier, India's bowlers were paragons of discipline, observing metronomic lines and lengths, and reaped the benefits.
Before lunch, three wickets - all to Kumar - in the final hour before the interval left West Indies reeling.
Sharma had given the visitors an early breakthrough, after West Indies continued from their overnight total of 34 for one.
He trapped Ramnaresh Sarwan lbw for three, playing forward, but offering no stroke to a delivery moving back in the second over of the day.
After India met resistance in the shape of a 56-run stand for the third wicket between Barath and Darren Bravo, Kumar went to work.
He had Barath caught behind, playing defensively to a well-pitched delivery that moved away. The diminutive opener stroked nine fours and one six from 122 balls in close to three hours.
In his next over, Kumar had Bravo also caught behind for 18, playing defensively forward, before another left-hander Brendan Nash was caught at third slip for one, leaving West Indies wobbling on 102 for five.
After lunch, Harbhajan Singh, who endured brutal punishment in the morning period, came into his own after West Indies continued from their lunch total of 119 for five.
He triggered a collapse that sent the hosts crumbling to 152 for eight in the first hour after the interval.
He had Carlton Baugh Jr caught at silly point for 27 to end a sixth-wicket partnership of 45 with veteran left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Sharma stepped in to have Sammy bowled for one, and Harbhajan had Chanderpaul caught at forward short leg for 23, the home team losing three for five in the space of 24 balls.
Edwards joined Rampaul, and prolonged the agony before Amit Mishra quickly took both his and Bishoo's wickets to end the West Indies' innings.
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