St John's (Antigua): India posted an imposing first innings score but struggled to get the wickets thereafter as West Indies made a fluent start to its reply on the third day of the fourth cricket Test here on Sunday.
West Indies produced its best opening wicket stand of the series with Wavell Hinds and Chris Gayle putting on 65 runs. Zaheer Khan gave India the breakthrough when he had Gayle caught by Ajay Ratra for 32. Hinds and Ramnaresh Sarwan then carried their team to 88 for one at lunch. Hinds was batting on 48 with five fours while Sarwan was on five at the break. The Indians had only themselves to blame for letting Hinds continue with his innings. Hinds, playing his first Test of the series, was dropped first by Shiv Sunder Das at mid-wicket and then by Rahul Dravid in the slips.
With the track offering absolutely no help to the bowlers, West Indian batsmen scored freely and were seldom troubled. The Indians were also handicapped by the fact that Anil Kumble had been found to have suffered a fracture on his jaw and was ruled out for the remainder of the series. Earlier, Ratra struck his maiden Test century, an unbeaten 115, to enable India declare its innings at an imposing 513 for nine. Ratra was the second centurion of the innings following the 130 by V V S Laxman. The duo added 217 runs, a record by an Indian pair for the seventh wicket against West Indies.