BRIDGETOWN, (Reuters) – India fast bowler Ishant Sharma captured two wickets in four balls today to briefly put the squeeze on West Indies during a rain-shortened second day of the second test in Barbados.
Sharma, exploiting the extra pace and bounce on offer at a damp Kensington Oval, removed nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo and Ramnaresh Sarwan in the sixth over before the foul weather intervened and washed out the rest of the day.
The start of play was delayed by 45 minutes after early morning showers soaked the outfield then was suspended after less than 13 overs were completed when the skies opened up again just after lunch.
Although the rain stopped and the outfield was declared fit to resume, play did not start again because of bad light, leaving the match in the balance with three days left.
West Indies, already 1-0 down in the three-match series, had improved their precarious overnight score of 30 for three to 98-5, still 103 runs in arrears of India’s first innings total of 201.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul was not out on 20 while Marlon Samuels, who replaced sacked vice-captain Brendan Nash, was unbeaten on 21 with the hosts needing a big partnership from their last recognised pair to have any real hope of gaining a first innings lead.
Bishoo, who came to the crease for just one delivery the previous night, had scored an enterprising 13 off 18 deliveries when his luck deserted him and he fended a short-pitched ball from Sharma to Virat Kohli at gully who gobbled up the chance.
Sarwan, content to play a more cautious role, had made 18 when he was deceived by an inswinger from Sharma and was trapped lbw in the same over, the 15th wicket to fall in the first four sessions.
Chanderpaul and Samuels shared an unbroken stand of 41 for the sixth wicket, giving the home team hope that they can save the series, when their progress was halted by another tropical downpour.
While there was little action on the field, the International Cricket Council (ICC) was forced to intervene on behalf of two umpires following outbursts from Indian players.
Suresh Raina was fined a quarter of his match fee after showing dissent when he was given out by Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf on Tuesday, in clear breach of the regulations.
“There is a fine line between showing disappointment at a dismissal and demonstrating dissent but on this occasion Suresh was well over that line and his behavior was unacceptable,” ICC match referee Chris Broad said in a statement.
Australian umpire Daryl Harper withdrew from next week’s final test after complaints from India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni about his decision-making in the first test, which India won by 63 runs.
The ICC said Harper had been unfairly criticised for his performances in the match but did not take any action over the matter, even though it accepted the umpire’s decision is one of the most sacred traditions of the sport.
The ICC said Harper, a 59-year-old with almost two decades of experience as an international umpire, told them he was standing down from the match and would be replaced by Richard Kettleborough.
“In the wake of some unfair criticism, Daryl has informed us that he does not wish to stand in what would have been his final test,” ICC general manager David Richardson said in a statement.
“The reality of the situation is that Daryl’s statistics show his correct decision percentage in tests involving India is 96 percent, which is considerably higher than the international average for top-level umpires.”
Harper is not the first neutral umpire to make a premature exit from a series involving India after complaints from the game’s financial power brokers.
In 2009, West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor was sacked by the ICC after India complained about his performance and threatened to pack up and go home when they lost a contentious match against Australia in Sydney.