Sharma bags 6-55 to give India narrow lead

BRIDGETOWN,  (Reuters) – India’s Ishant Sharma mopped  up the West Indies tail to capture his 100th test wicket before  the fickle weather threatened the chances of a result after a  rain-interrupted third day of the second test today.
Sharma bowled superbly on a lively Kensington Oval pitch  that suited the quicks to finish with career-best figures of six  for 55, including the last two wickets in successive balls to  remain on a hat-trick.
The lanky paceman took the last three wickets to restrict  West Indies to 190 and give India a narrow first innings lead of  11 runs before the foul weather brought play to an early halt.
The visitors, who have never won a test in Barbados,  extended their advantage to 34 runs by the close after reaching  23 without loss in their second innings.
Abhinav Mukund was unbeaten on eight with Murali Vijay on  three after their innings was delayed first by a tropical storm,  then bad light as the umpires called an early end to  proceedings.
West Indies’ Marlon Samuels, who replaced sacked  vice-captain Brendan Nash, repaid the selectors’ faith by  scoring an unbeaten 78, only to run out of partners.
He also shared a vital sixth wicket stand of 77 with  Shivnarine Chanderpaul, dismissed for 37 in the penultimate over  of the morning session, after the home side slumped to 57-5 and  were in danger of falling well short of the tourists’ total.
Most of the second day had been washed out by torrential  rain and yesterday’s scheduled start was delayed because of  morning showers that passed over but returned several times  during the day.
The pitch, which caused the visiting batsmen all sorts of  problems on the opening day with its extra pace and bounce, was  less hostile but still gave plenty of encouragement to bowlers  and batsmen the chance to score runs if they remained patient.
Resuming on 98-5, Samuels and Chanderpaul adopted a cautious  approach, eliminating any risky shots as they looked for a first  innings lead after West Indies lost a tight first test in  Jamaica.
They reached their 50 partnership off a painstakingly slow  136 balls but were looking more and more comfortable at the  crease when Chanderpaul suddenly dragged a short-pitched ball  from Abhimanyu Mithun back on to his stumps with the total on  134.
West Indies went to lunch on 138-6 but lost their remaining  four wickets before tea with captain Darren Sammy (15) and Ravi  Rampaul and Fidel Edwards (both no score) all falling to Sharma.
Earlier, West Indies coach Ottis Gibson said he was  expecting a good score from Samuels after his recall to the test  team.
“He is really looking forward to this opportunity in this  test match and hopefully he will continue to show the fighting  skills he has demonstrated,” Gibson said.
“He came in at a crucial time and has played well so far. We  expect him to continue.”

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