Chennai: Anil Kumble celebrated his birthday with five wickets to put India in a commanding position as batting horrors continued to haunt the West Indies in the second Test on Thursday.
The West Indies was shot out for 167 in its first innings, squandering its advantage of batting first after winning the toss on a slow turning pitch at the Chidambaram Stadium. Leg spinner Kumble, who turned 32 on Thursday, finished with five for 30 off 23.3 overs for his 20th haul of five or more wickets in a Test innings, while off spinner Harbhajan Singh took three for 56 to provide valuable support. India was 31 for no loss in reply at stumps with Virender Sehwag (24) and Sanjay Bangar (6) at the crease. Batting had let the West Indies down in the opening Test of a three-match series at Mumbai also as it managed just 157 and 188 to suffer an innings defeat. The tourists failed to solve their batting problems against spin on a newly laid track, which favoured neither pacemen nor slow bowlers in the first two sessions. The bounce became a bit uneven in the last session and Kumble struck it rich to put the West Indies in a spot of bother. His third and last spell read 8.3-2-10-4 after the tourists had been placed at 118 for four at tea. Skipper Carl Hooper top-scored with 35 in his team's spineless batting performance against a disciplined Indian spin duo. India captain Saurav Ganguly needed just nine overs of pace in the morning to realise there was little in the wicket for new-ball bowlers Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan. He promptly pressed into the attack his spin-twins who continued to tease and torment the West Indian batsmen. Shivnaraine Chanderpaul (27), Chris Gayle (23), Wavell Hinds (18), Ramnaresh Sarwan (19) and Hooper all spent more than an hour at the crease, but failed to play a long innings. India cashed in on the West Indian batsmen's reluctance to play shots for a major part of the innings, as only 45 runs came in the two-hour morning session. Hooper counter-attacked in the afternoon in order to ease the pressure, square- cutting seamer Sanjay Bangar for two fours in an over after three wickets had fallen for 62. His flourish, however, did not last long as he uppishly drove left-arm seamer Zaheer straight to Ganguly in the covers after adding 55 for the fourth wicket with Chanderpaul. Left-handed Chanderpaul defied the Indian spinners for 147 minutes before being surprised by the bounce of a Kumble delivery to be caught behind in the last session. Kumble then trapped Ryan Hinds (9) leg before with the one that kept low and went on to dismiss Mervyn Dillon and debutant Jermaine Lawson. There was no respite from spin for the West Indian batsmen as Harbhajan continued to keep pressure from the other end. Harbhajan had provided the breakthrough when he had Gayle caught by Sachin Tendulkar. The left-hander fell just when he had begun playing strokes, caught at point while attempting an ambitious on-drive. Wavell Hinds offered no stroke to a Kumble delivery and was adjudged leg before, while Sarwan inside-edged an Srinath ball on to his stumps. Harbhajan then made a short work of the West Indies' tail, having Ridley Jacobs (9) and debutant Gareth Breese (4) caught by Sehwag at forward short-leg.
Snail-paced West Indies reaches 118/4 at tea