St. Lucia, (IANS) India took a crucial 128-run lead in first innings by packing off West Indies for 225 thanks to pacer Bhuveneshwar Kumar’s five-wicket haul during the post-lunch session on the fourth day of the rain-hit third Test at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium here.
At tea on Friday, India were 49/1 from eight overs in second innings for the loss of Lokesh Rahul, who made a breezy 28 of 24 balls with three boundaries.
After losing two wickets and posting 194/3 in 83 overs during the first session from 107/1 in 47 overs on Wednesday, the hosts collapsed to 225 in 103.4 overs, as their top and middle order wilted under pressure from Kumar, who was the pick of the Indian bowlers.
Star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravidra Jadeja shared the remaining two West Indies wickets during the post-lunch session.
Though the new pair of Marlon Samuels and Jermaine Blackwood tried to consolidate the innings and took the score past 200-run in the 87th over, Kumar scalped both of them with accurate bowling to the stumps, aided by seam and windy conditions.
Kumar had Blackwood caught at the second slip by skipper Virat Kohli in the 88th over for 20 in 86 balls and clean bowled Samuels in the 90th over for 48 in 107 balls, with seven boundaries and a six, the only one in the Windies’ first innings.
A quick exit of the middle order duo forced West Indies wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich and all-rounder Roston Chase to be defensive to avoid losing further wickets.
But it was not to be, as Jadeja had Chase caught by Ajinkya Rahane at the slips in the following over (91st) for just 2 in 12 balls, while Kumar trapped Windies’ skipper Jason Holder leg before in the 94th over for only 2 in 11 balls.
Holder’s quick exit exerted more pressure on the tail-enders, as the team lost four key wickets in a span of 4 overs for 10 runs to 212 from 202.
The magical bowling spell of Kumar and Ashwin also troubled Test debutant Alzarri Jospeh, and Ashwin Miguelo Cummins who were out for ducks, while Shannon Gabriel remained not out zero after Kumar made keeper Shane Dowrich snick the ball to Shikar Dhawan in the slip for 18 in 38 balls.
Brief scores: India: 353 & 49/1 vs West Indies 225 (Kraigg Brathwaite 64, Samuels 48, Johnson 23, Bravo 29; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 5/33, Ravichandran Ashwin 2/52)