ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – West Indies were offered a temporary reprieve in the third and final Test against India yesterday, after persistent rain wrecked Windsor Park’s inauguration.
The hosts found themselves in an all-too-familiar position having been sent in to bat, reaching 75 for three in their first innings, after rain allowed just 31.1 overs on the opening day at Test cricket’s newest outpost.
The weather interrupted about 15 minutes after West Indies continued from their lunch-time total of 64 for three, and the players never returned to the field.
To the rich applause of a modest crowd, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, becoming the most capped player for West Indies with 133 Tests, joined fellow left-hander Darren Bravo about 45 minutes before lunch.
They were still together after the interval, when the rain swept across the ground, adding 40 – unbroken – for the fourth wicket, and both getting into their stride with crisp drives through the covers off Praveen Kumar.
West Indies had run into trouble early again, Ishant Sharma undermining their feeble top-order batting before lunch with two wickets for 23 runs from eight overs.
The lanky Sharma, the most successful of all bowlers in the series, has now taken 18 wickets over the three matches.
The hosts decision to give left-hander Kieran Powell and middle-order batsman Kirk Edwards their Test debuts failed to bring stability to their batting, and West Indies soon sunk to 35 for three inside the first 1 ½ hours.
Powell looked comfortable enough at the crease, playing patiently, before he was caught at second slip off Kumar for three.
Nerves were not a problem for Edwards either, having played nine One-day Internationals – but he soon learnt how tough Tests can be, when he was dubiously caught behind for six, essaying a hook at a short rising delivery.
TV replays suggested the ball ricocheted from his helmet, and English umpire Richard Kettleborough may have adjudicated incorrectly.
In between, Adrian Barath was bowled for 12, dragging a short ball from Sharma into his stumps off the glove, one ball after he had survived a loud appeal for a catch to the ‘keeper down the leg-side.
West Indies made two changes, inserting Powell and Edwards, after dropping Lendl Simmons and Ramnaresh Sarwan.
India brought Munaf Patel in to replace fellow fast-medium bowler Abhimanyu Mithun.
West Indies trail 0-1 in the three-match series, after they lost the first Test by 63 runs in four days at Sabina Park in Jamaica, and earning a draw in the second Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
Windsor Park became the 12th venue in the Caribbean to stage a Test, and 106th globally.