Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha Innings Help India Get Firmness after Top Order Collapses

August 10 15:45 2016

ashNew Delhi, Wednesday, August 10 – India and West Indies met each other at Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia to contest in third and decisive Test match, which started a day ago amid loud cheers from the crowd. Despite the fact that the stadium was not full of viewers, all expected to witness a good contest.

Virat Kohli – led side included Lokesh Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma,  Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravindra Jadeja and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Those to sit on bench this time were Stuart Binny,  Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Amit Mishra, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur.

Those elected in West Indies Playing XI to perform well were Kraigg Brathwaite, Leon Johnson, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Miguel Cummins, Alzarri Joseph, Shannon Gabriel. At the same time, Carlos Brathwaite, Shai Hope and Devendra Bishoo were the players who were kept in extra. If truth to be told then hopes were up from Jason Holder’s men and to a certain extent it can be said that he and his players did not disappoint. West Indies skipper won the toss and invited India to bat first. His decision to bowl was perhaps to end India’s 1st innings as early as possible.

The way he looked encouraging his men to stay focused in the game may be a hope for the home side to bounce back in the ongoing Test series where a victory is important. Right from the start, Indian batsmen did not appear confident. This can be predicted after noticing the way how two wickets were lost in a short span of time. The likelihood of witnessing an interesting game between the visitors and hosts was up in view of the fact that both squads wish to be on the winning side in the last part. On one hand, it is a matter of clinching the series for India which is possible if they manage to play in the same way they did earlier. Even though, they missed the chance of taking the lead in the ongoing Test series after the 2nd Test finished in a draw thanks to heroics of Roston Chase, who did well both with bat and ball, India can still think of going home with win in the series.

It is true that they would love to seal series now instead of sending the ball into West Indies court.  Eyes can’t be closed to the fact that the task of logging victory isn’t going to be easy at all, principally at a stage when West Indies made it clear in the previous match to not treat casually through unexpected performance on Day 4 and 5. It was a good toss to win for the home squad given that Shikhar Dhawan played a wrong shot, making the ball to go in the hands of Dowrich in Shannon Gabriel’s first over. The opening batsman scored 1 run in 4 balls. Another jolt was received earlier than expected since the next-man in Virat Kohli lost his wicket to Alzarri Joseph at a score of 3. DM Bravo was a happy man to take the catch that made his teammates sniff the possible grip in the match.

Lokesh Rahul was doing well, not giving much opportunity to the rivals to think of another dismissal.  Roston Chase ended his impressive stint of 50 runs in 65 balls. The young opener struck six boundaries. He along with Ajinkya Rahane helped Indian innings get stabilized to some extent. In spite of the fact that Rahane did not score many runs, he managed to play deliveries by West Indies bowlers. The two batsmen stitched a partnership of 58 runs. The kind of show likely from Rohit Sharma did not come into picture. He did not open innings for India and sent at number five. However, he failed to impart his role as a middle order batsman and succumbed to Alzarri Joseph post scoring 9 runs in 23 balls (4 x 2).

Ravichandran Ashwin arrived on the crease with sheer confidence, giving India a boost and stability that was required to stay in the game. He scored 75 runs in 190 balls, with the help of four 4s. Rahane lost his wicket in the 50th over, scoring 35 runs in 133 balls, together with four boundaries. Chase surprised him with a good delivery which brought wicket for West Indies. Wriddhiman Saha – the wicket-keeper batsman is four runs away from getting his fifty. Saha also sent the ball into the fences for four times. Both Ashwin and Saha will resume their batting today. Six bowling options by West Indies make it clear that the team wants to take remaining wickets as early as possible. Joseph and Chase got two wickets each, while Gabriel got one. Holder, Cummins and Braithwaite tried to bowl in line and length so that no room shall be given to the Men in Blue as they can be dangerous if come back in form.

Ashwin once again took the opponents and his fans by surprise by nearing towards a century. On day one, India scored 234 runs for the loss of five wickets in 90 overs. Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar, Shami and Ishant are yet to bat. Focus of Indian batsmen will be on saving wickets so that runs can be scored with a little bit ease. A few key players of the Indian team succumbed easily to West Indies bowling attack, which was a success for the host a day ago. Dhawan, Kohli and R Sharma will certainly try not to repeat what they did in the first innings as they know themselves they could play wonderfully and do substantial contribution to make the group stand strong. West Indies played on strengths, letting strong Indian trio go back to the dressing room at a time when it wasn’t expected. Despite the fact that the start wasn’t wonderful, India managed to get a slight grip in the contest. They are yet to travel a long distance if they think of taking a good lead. Indian have bowling line-up that can do the job for India but best way to remain robust will be showing some good batting skills too to shrug off pressure, which may increase as the day will pass.

India will continue to eye a partnership that could make the job of attaining runs a little bit simple. At the same time, West Indies will make efforts to send the opponents go back to the dressing room after certain time intervals. Significant contribution from tail-ender batsmen will certainly play pivotal role in taking India to a good position. Classy shots by Indian players already made West Indies fielders do some running on the field. The same must be objective today as well. Ashwin has got the potential to place the ball into the gaps. No wonder, if he carries on doing the same today too, though this attitude wasn’t seen much yesterday where he focused more on getting singles and converting them into twos. Fifteen extras were bowled by West Indies. It is apparent from play of Tuesday that if the hosts want to stop Indian at a ‘not so impressive’ total, they would have to try out different bowling options after a few overs. If this is done with confidence, Indian batsmen may fumble post not reading the moods of deliveries. When all’s said and done, Indian have robust chance to rise on Day 2 but dedicated play will be important in all contexts.