Windies batsmen keep India at bay

MUMBAI, (Reuters) – West Indies’ top four made  the most of ideal batting conditions at Wankhede Stadium and put  their team on course for a big first innings total at the close  of the first day in the third and final test against India.
Openers Kraigg Brathwaite (68) and Adrian Barath (62) gave  the visitors an ideal start with a 137-run stand after captain  Darren Sammy won the toss and opted to bat first on an  easy-paced pitch in the hope of avoiding a 3-0 series whitewash.
Kirk Edwards (65 not out) and Darren Bravo (57 not out) then  scripted an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 117 runs to  further consolidate West Indies’ position and took the team to  267 for two wickets at the close today.
India’s off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin found enough turn  before tea to account for both the right-handed opening batsmen,  which turned out to be the only scalps in the day for the hosts.
Edwards, on 29, received a life when captain Mahendra Singh  Dhoni floored a difficult caught behind opportunity off Virender  Sehwag’s bowling.
Bravo, who made 136 in the second innings in the last test  in Kolkata, was also dropped on 33 by Rahul Dravid at the lone  slip position off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha’s bowling.
Both Edwards (10 fours) and Bravo (seven fours) made the  most of their good fortune and took the attack to the Indian  spinners and were not afraid of taking the aerial route against  them.
Barath had looked solid in completing a second consecutive  half-century after his 62 in the second innings in Kolkata, but  departed when he edged Ashwin onto his pads for Dhoni to  complete an easy catch.
Brathwaite, who hit eight fours, was less assured against  the spinners and was dropped on 57 by Vangipurappu Laxman off  Ashwin at backward short leg.
However, the 18-year-old was dismissed in similar fashion to  his fellow opener, clipping an Ashwin delivery off his pads that  went straight to Virat Kohli at short leg.
India’s pace bowlers Ishant Sharma and debutant Varun Aaron  failed to extract much movement with the new ball, prompting  Dhoni to introduce spinner Ojha as early as the ninth over.
Ojha and Ashwin, however, initially proved ineffective  against the dogged approach of the openers, who frustrated the  Indian attack for more than three-and-a-half hours before the  hosts broke through.
The second new ball, which Dhoni took in the 85th over of  the day, also failed to bring any success for the pacemen.
West Indies were earlier dealt a blow when key batsman  Shivnarine Chanderpaul failed to recover from a calf injury and  was replaced by Kieran Powell.
Pace bowler Kemar Roach was also ruled out due to a stomach  bug, making way for the return of Ravi Rampaul, who missed the  second test in Kolkata with an upset stomach.
India brought in right-handed batsman Virat Kohli for Yuvraj  Singh, who was dropped after the second test, while paceman  Aaron made his debut in place of Umesh Yadav.

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