HYDERABAD, India, CMC – West Indies released the pressure in the final session as wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and Ajinkya Rahane struck enterprising half-centuries to give India control of the second and final Test here yesterday.
At the close of the second day at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, India were motoring along at 308 for four in their first innings, with Pant eyeing his second Test hundred on an unbeaten 85 and Rahane closing in on his 10th, on 75 not out.
West Indies picked up three wickets in the second session to leave India on 162 for four, about 20 minutes before tea, but Pant and Rahane put on 146 in an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership, to keep the tourists wicket-less in the last session.
Teenaged opener Prithvi Shaw once again whetted the appetite with a scintillating 70 off 53 balls while captain Virat Kohli got a start with 45, before becoming the second of captain Jason Holder’s two victims.
Roston Chase had earlier completed his fourth Test hundred to finish on 106 as the Windies were dismissed for 311 inside half hour of the start, with pacer Umesh Yadav taking all three wickets to post career-best figures of six for 88.
He lost overnight partner Devendra Bishoo (2) to the last ball of the first over, dragging on to Umesh and spectacularly losing his off-stump.
Chase failed to build, however, and was one of two wickets to fall in successive deliveries in the seventh over of the morning to bring an end to the Windies innings, when he played around a full length delivery and was bowled.
Chase faced 189 deliveries and struck eight fours and a six.
Last man Shannon Gabriel nicked a drive at the very next delivery and was caught at the wicket.
The 18-year-old Shaw then picked up from where he left off in the Rajkot Test, attacking from the outset to dominate a 61-run stand off 52 balls with the out-of-sorts Lokesh Rahul who made just four.
Shaw played with typical aggression, striking 11 fours and a six in an entertaining knock which saw India to lunch on 80 for one.
In contrast, Rahul’s struggles continued and he was finally put out of his misery after facing 25 balls, playing on to Holder, about 35 minutes before the interval.
West Indies enjoyed their best period after lunch, prising out three wickets for 64 runs, to haul themselves back into the contest.
Left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican, playing his first Test in nearly three years, claimed Shaw to a catch at cover by Shimron Hetmyer in the third following the resumption, as the right-hander drove uppishly.
Chesteshwar Pujara followed in the next over after adding just one to his nine at the break, pushing at one from Gabriel which held its line and nicking a catch to substitute wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton.
The Windies then had their progress stalled, however, as Rahane and Kohli combined in a 60-run, stand for the fourth wicket.
Rahane stroked six fours in a 174-ball innings while Kohli looked on course to follow up his hundred in the first Test with another, in a knock which consumed 78 balls and included five fours.
With tea approaching, Holder gained an lbw verdict against Kohli as the right-hander played across, giving the Windies new energy at tea with the hosts on 173 for four.
But that momentum disappeared after the interval, however, as Pant and Rahane asserted India’s authority with accomplished half-centuries.
Pant took the attack to the Windies in an innings requiring 120 balls and comprising 10 fours and two sixes – successive blows off Warrican which sailed over the ropes at long on.
He suffered a huge let-off on 24 with India on 196 for four when he slashed at Gabriel and watched as Hamilton muffed the chance moving high to his left.
Windies were left to rue Hamilton’s mistake, toiling without reward for the remainder of the session as both batsmen cruised effortlessly to their landmarks.