Rain fails to spoil Sharma's landmark day

Rain prevented India from making significant headway as they finished the third day of the rain-hit second Test with a 34-run lead over the West Indies here on Thursday.

India reached 23 without loss in their second innings when bad light stopped play after 11.2 overs, when only 42 overs were possible in close to three and half hour.

It followed a memorable day for Ishant Sharma, who became the fifth-youngest bowler ever to take 100 wickets.

He captured a career-best six for 55 from 21.5 overs as West Indies were dismissed for 190, in response to India's first innings total of 201.

Sharma collected his landmark scalp when he trapped West Indies captain Darren Sammy lbw for 15, triggering a collapse that saw the hosts lose their last three wickets for just four in the space of 12 deliveries.

Only compatriot Kapil Dev, New Zealand's Daniel Vettori, Pakistan's Waqar Younis and team-mate Harbhajan Singh were younger than Sharma's 22 years and 301 days when they took their 100th wicket in Tests.

The beanpole fast bowler generated sharp bounce from the lively Kensington Oval pitch and made life uncomfortable for all the West Indies batsmen, including Marlon Samuels, whose unbeaten 78 was the top score.

Sharma had no success before lunch, when he struck both Samuels and veteran left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul on the helmet.

He also saw champion off-spinner Harbhajan Singh provide India with the breakthrough after the interval, when Carlton Baugh Jr was caught at slip for two, edging an ill-advised drive.

Things started to get out of hand when he and the rest of India's bowlers began to get a little loose and Sammy and Samuels galloped West Indies closer to the lead with a stand of 43 for the eighth wicket.

Praveen Kumar almost stole Sharma's moment when extra cover Suresh Raina failed to hold on to an overhead chance with Sammy on 13.

But Sharma gained the lbw verdict from umpire Ian Gould with a delivery moving back and then served up two bouncers to Ravi Rampaul and Fidel Edwards that were fended to catchers behind the stumps to cap a memorable spell.

Abhimanyu Mithun had struck a vital blow for India in the five minutes before lunch, removing key batsman Chanderpaul as West Indies reached 138 for six at the interval.

Mithun bowled Chanderpaul for a painstaking 37, ending the durable left-hander's resistance that helped to prop his side up as they continued from their overnight total of 98 for five.
Mithun made the breakthrough after Chanderpaul and Samuels added 77 for the sixth wicket following a rain delay at the beginning of the day.

India had West Indies reeling on 57 for five, but rain, as well as Chanderpaul and Samuels, initially prevented them from making further inroads into the hosts' batting.

A delivery from Kumar had been guided by Samuels between third slip and gully to third man for the first boundary of the morning to bring up the 50-run partnership with Chanderpaul.

Mithun, however, ensured that India did not have to bear a fruitless toil, when he got Chanderpaul to drag a short delivery into his stumps in the penultimate over before lunch.
India are looking to wrap up their second straight Test series victory over West Indies in the Caribbean.


Print Email