Mumbai, Nov 22: Windies take charge as they post 267/2 at stumps on Day one. Half centuries from the top 4 put Windies on top as they dominate Indian attack. R Ashwin gave India a much needed breakthrough dismissing Kraigg Brathwaite (68) and Adrian Barath (62) on Day 1 of the third and final test played at Wankhede, Mumbai on Tuesday.
[Scorecard: 3rd Test; India Vs West Indies, Mumbai]
Both openers scored half-centuries giving Windies the perfect start, Barath reached his fourth half-century, third against India while Brathwaite scored his third half-century, second against India. Their partnership 137 runs for the first wicket, being the best partnership in the innings so far.
Brathwaite top scored for Windies with 68 which included 8 boundaries, as Barath scored 62 which also included 8 hits to the fence.
After a long wait, R Ashwin dismissed both the openers who looked well settled on the crease. An Off-break from R Ashwin turned and bounced, got the inside edge onto the pad and lobbed up for an easy catch for Indian captain MS Dhoni. Ashwin striked once again, the ball turns hitting the inside edge on to the pad for a simple catch to Virat Kohli
After a while, another partnership showed Windies had set their mind to play through this test and were confident throughout the day. The second best partnership so far 117* between Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo for the third wicket is indeed a valuable one as it has set the tone for the test.
Darren Bravo, unbeaten on 57, scored 7 boundaries and showed a lot of grit as Windies set an example for not getting bogged down, which appeared to be a positive sign. Kirk Edwards, unbeaten on 65 also showed, he is the find of the season and a future prospect as he reached his third fifty, helping Windies sail through easily.
Indian bowlers struggled a lot as Windies top order batsmen tore the attack as they played defensively not making too many mistakes. Though there were a couple of occasions wherein Indians spilled the catches which might cost them dearly as the test progresses.
Indian bowling lacked variation. Varun Aaron, though put up a good show, only pace cannot help him get wickets. Though its very early to talk about his bowling, the first session showed he has the pace, but it did not create much damage to any of the batsmen.
The pace attack with experienced Ishant and debutant Varun Aaron, looks fragile. Windies openers Kraigg Brathwaite (68) and Adrian Barath (62) have played extremely well to give Windies a great start.
A few wickets in the second session will help India take an upper hand while Windies openers look to dominate the attack and score big as their batting relies on a few batsmen in the absence of Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Earlier, India made two changes as they brought in Virat Kohli at No. 6 after Yuvraj Singh was dropped. Bowling department which is wearing an inexperienced look, looks very fragile as India drop the pacer, Umesh Yadav after a successful match at Eden with ten wickets to accomodate Varun Aaron who makes his Test debut.
On the other hand, Windies' hope of challenging India in the third and the final test took a blow as their key player Shivnarine Chanderpaul was ruled out of the test due to a calf strain. Windies were forced to make another change as Kemar Roach was down with gastroenteritis. Ravi Rampaul replaced Roach but the main factor thats going to affect the Windies is their batting as it is weakened in Chanderpaul's absence.
The only good that happened to Windies this morning was Sammy's luck with the toss, as he elected to bat first. With a few youngsters performing really well, Windies would expect a similar show at Wankhede too as they strongly rely on them as Chanderpaul 's absence cost them dearly.
With India sealing the series at Eden, this match awaits a few milestones as cricket buffs are curious about master blaster Sachin getting his elusive 100th ton at his home ground while "The Wall' Rahul Dravid is just 21 runs short of reaching 13000 runs in test cricket behind Sachin who is leading the table with 15,086 runs.
After an amazing start, Windies will except the youngsters Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo to go for big scores and to repeat the Eden Magic as they crossed 450 odd runs. Can Bravo repeat the magic is the question that is there at the top of the mind of readers. It remains to be seen how the Windies fare on Day 2 as he runs they score on Wednesday will be vital in order to get a good first innings score.
India: MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Varun Aaron
West Indies: Adrian Barath, Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Darren Sammy (capt), Carlton Baugh, Ravi Rampaul, Fidel Edwards, Devendra Bishoo