Following on, West Indies in fight for survival

They imploded in the morning session to get bowled out in 48 overs, three more than what Devendra Bishoo bowled when India batted. Such capitulation was not forthcoming in the follow-on, but a patient Ishant Sharma chipped away at them and got rid of both half-centurions, Adrian Barath and Kirk Edwards, before stumps. West Indies still needed 283 to make India bat again with two days remaining in the match. 

What happened in the morning wasn’t entirely unexpected, in that spin began the slide and that once Shivnarine Chanderpaul got out cheaply there wasn’t much resistance. Umesh Yadav brought the surprise, removing the two batsmen who got involved in any sort of partnership, Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels. 

From the moment Pragyan Ojha pitched the first ball of the morning in front of leg and missed off, you knew from the evidence from Delhi that the batsmen would struggle. In his third over of the day, Ojha delivered the simple one-two of a big turner followed by the arm ball. Edwards neither read the arm ball nor came forward, and even though it was a marginal lbw, Edwards’ being caught on the crease did him no favours.

 Chanderpaul showed more intent, sweeping the third ball he faced for four. Ojha didn’t bowl the next over. And it took the replacement Ashwin three balls to trap the big fish in front. Chanderpaul always leaves the lbw open by shuffling across, and it is a huge credit to how he keeps scoring and rarely gets hit on the pad. This time, though, he missed an offbreak that didn’t turn as much as it held its line. Caught inside the crease, Chanderpaul provided the umpire no dilemma. 

Bravo and Samuels batted positively, doubling the score from 46 for 4 before Bravo played a lazy shot: a push at a ball just outside off, without getting close to the line. Yadav took the inside edge, and Bravo’s stumps were now only semi-furnished. A peach spread-eagled Samuels’ woodwork soon. This one shaped like it would swing in, pitched on a good length, hit the seam and then held its line. India were into the tail now, with fewer than 100 on the board. 

Smart stats

The lead of 478 is the second-highest conceded by the West Indies and the highest ever lead conceded by them since 1930 against England. Click here for matches where West Indies have batted first and here for matches when they have fielded first.

India have registered 400-plus leads on four different occasions. On three occasions in the last four years, India have batted first. The only time they batted second and gained a 400-run lead was against Australia in Kolkata in 1998.

West Indies’ total of 153 is their third-lowest in Tests against India. While they lost when they made their lowest total (106) in Kingston in 2006, they won despite folding for 127 in Delhi in 1987.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul became the fourth batsman after Clive Lloyd, Javed Miandad and Ricky Ponting to aggregate 2000 runs in Tests against India. His seven centuries are second to Garry Sobers and Viv Richards, who have eight each.

The 93-run stand between Adrian Barath and Kirk Edwards is the fifth-highest second-wicket stand for West Indies in Tests in India.

Pragyan Ojha, who picked up 4 for 64 in the first innings, reached the 50-wicket landmark in his 13th Test. Five Indian bowlers including Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh have achieved the feat in fewer matches.

Darren Sammy hit Ojha for a six but Ojha responded with another flighted delivery. The extra bounce on that took Sammy’s edge on the cut. Quick singles have hardly been the thought on the minds of West Indies’ batsman, but for some reason Kemar Roach was caught backing up too far to replicate the Gautam Gambhir dismissal from Delhi. Just in case we didn’t notice this was some kind of a repeat of a show seen sometime earlier, Carlton Baugh fell lbw trying a big sweep off a full Ojha delivery. 

Fidel Edwards swung a few before the end, but all it did was deny India their biggest lead in Test cricket, which continues to be the 492-run difference they managed against Bangladesh in 2007. 

The batsmen did well to not carry the repetition of errors into the second innings after having lost their last 25 wickets for 368 runs. They were aggressive but judicious. Barath was clear in his mind. When he went after width, he did so hard, and resisted pushing defensively outside off. Kraigg Brathwaite, though, pushed half-heartedly, giving Yadav his third wicket of the day. Edwards’ arrival brought in Ojha, but this time Edwards was quick to come forward in defence, and also drove at overpitched deliveries. Barath welcomed Ojha with two fours in his first over, and then Edwards hit his fifth over for a four and a six. 

Like any self-respecting modern captain, Dhoni immediately spread the field, never mind the huge lead in hand. At one point West Indies batted with five fielders on the boundary, and kept picking the easy single. When Dhoni brought the mid-on in for Yuvraj Singh, Barath immediately lofted him over that fielder to reach 49. He spent six balls on that score, and then could easily push one to deep point for the single that would bring up his fifty. 

The ball had started reversing by now, and after tea Ishant bowled a testing over to Barath. After continuously pushing him back with short-of-a-length deliveries and inward movement, Ishant bowled the sucker ball wide outside off. Barath went after it, the ball moved away slightly, took the edge, and settled with the lone wide slip. 

Edwards and Bravo, both batting for a second time today, made sure an immediate wicket didn’t follow. Bravo hit Ojha and Ashwin for a six each to get rid of the extra catching men. Edwards was now reaping benefits of a similar approach earlier. His concentration wavered when Ishant came back, and he played across the line of a full delivery that straightened. Through a 34-run partnership, Bravo and Chanderpaul ensured there wasn’t further damage, but their job had only just started.

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