2nd Test: Rahane, Vihari bring India closer to 2-0 sweep
Ajinkya Rahane (L) and Hanuma Vihari scored at more than six an over post tea. (AFP Image)

West Indies were left battling to save the Test and the series after India reduced them to 45/2 in the second innings, in pursuit of 468. India made short work of West Indies, needing approximately 75 minutes to dismiss them. With India ahead by 299, in a bid to provide his bowlers rest in the sapping Jamaica heat, Virat Kohli decided against enforcing the follow on.

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West Indies pacers, led by Kemar Roach responded with fire, leaving India at 36/3 before half-centuries from Hanuma Vihari and Ajinkya Rahane upped the tempo. From 41 runs scored in the first 20 overs, Vihari and Rahane added runs an over six an over post tea and declared 467 ahead. West Indies openers Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell walked out hoping to play out the remaining 16 overs unscathed, but Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami landed two early blow to tilt the balance heavily in favour of India.

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Jasprit Bumrah, whose hat-trick had crippled West Indies on Day 2, failed to add more wickets and it was left to Mohammed Shami, Ishant and Ravindra Jadeja to wipe out the Windies tail, which showed more resistance than their top order had displayed. Windies’ first few runs of the morning session were through inside edges, before Shami bounced out Rahkeem Cornwall. In his Test debut, Jahmar Hamilton almost added no run to his overnight score of 2 for 10 overs, and after crawling to 5 off 58, he became Ishant’s only wicket of the innings. Roach struck three boundaries in an entertaining 17 off 31 before falling to Jadeja.

KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal struggled against the new ball as Roach led a spirited bowling. After removing Agarwal before lunch with a ball that came back in viciously and dismissed the opener LBW, it was in the second session that Roach breathed fire and was rewarded with the wickets of Rahul and Kohli, edging behind for a golden duck. With Holder operating with equal precision, the West Indies captain prised out Cheteshwar Pujara India had added just 56 runs in the first two hours.

Roach almost secured the second hat-trick of the match, when Rahane poked at the ball outside off and it took the inside edge and raced past the keeper. But things changed drastically with first-innings centurion Vihari and Rahane forging a century-plus stand. Vihari made the first move to break the shackles for India, with a couple of early on-drives to settle nerves.

He and Rahane then collected boundaries off Cornwall to put the West Indies on the defensive. They operated with Cornwall and Chase from both ends and with an open field, left India to commit errors, which never really happened. On the one rare instance it did, West Indies slipped. Rahane swept to Shannon Gabriel at deep backward square leg which was spilled. The scoring rate spiked with both batsmen brining up their respective half-centuries in the in the same over. With India marching above 450, Kohli called back his batsmen.

Ishant struck for India in the third over with one that straightened after pitching for Brathwaite to nick it. He could have added a second had an edge from Campbell not gone down at first slip where Vihari put down a simple chance. But it wasn’t one that would hurt; Shami returned three overs later and Campbell slashed to Kohli. Darren Bravo looked the most comfortable of them all, striking three crisp boundaries, although in the last over of the day, he did get into a tangle against Bumrah, whose bouncer struck the batsman on his helmet. Thankfully, no damage was done.

Brief Scores: West Indies 117 and 45/2 (Bravo 18*, Brooks 4*), trail India 416 and 168/4 dec. (Rahane 64*, Vihari 53*, Roach 3/28) by 423 runs