Hyderabad: A depleted Indian bowling attack proved to be strong enough to reduce West Indies to a precarious 197 for six at tea on the first day of the second and final Test here on Friday.
The match did not start on a bright note for India as debutant pacer Shardul Thakur left the field complaining of groin strain having merely bowled 10 deliveries but the four-man bowling attack proved strong enough as West Indies lost wickets at regular intervals.
Left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav (3/50 in 18 overs) once again proved to be West Indies’ nemesis as the visiting batsmen failed to read him on most occasions while Umesh Yadav (2/60 in 16 overs) was impressive with the old ball. Save Roston Chase (50 batting), who again showed a lot of heart with his second half-century of the series, the other batsmen neither had technique nor temperament to stick around in what were easy batting conditions.
In the post-lunch session, Shimron Hetmeyer (12) offered no stroke to a googly and was adjudged plumb in-front. Sunil Ambris (18) played a loose shot as the Caribbeans were left stuttering at 113 for five.
Chase and Shane Dowrich (30) then added 69 runs for the sixth wicket before Umesh got the ball to reverse, trapping the keeper leg before. While umpire initially gave not out, skipper Virat Kohli had a successful DRS review. Earlier, Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep struck early as West Indies lost their top-order in the first session in which they scored 86 runs.
At the stroke of lunch, Shai Hope (36) was dismissed by Umesh as India gained the upper hand at the end of the opening session. Opener Kieran Powell, who scored 83 in the second innings at Rajkot in the first Test, had four boundaries. He successfully reviewed a leg before call off Ashwin’s delivery as TV replays showed a big inside edge.
But, Powell did not survive long as Ashwin flighted one and the batsman, trying the inside out lofted drive, failed to get the elevation to hole out by Ravindra Jadeja at cover. Powell’s opening partner Brathwaite showed better application compared to first Test as he was ready to dig in his heels and defend doggedly.
However, not scoring runs did put pressure as he looked clearly uncomfortable at not being able to pick Kuldeep’s wrist-spinners. In fact, he was facing problems with Kuldeep’s incoming delivery — the stock ball for a chinaman. One such delivery ended his 68-ball vigil with a delivery that spun sharply into Brathwaite as the batsman played to a wrong line.
Youngsters Hope and Hetmeyer, however, batted with grit, punishing the odd loose balls for boundary. Both were ready to defend Ashwin off the front-foot primarily and it worked to their advantage as they added 34 runs for the third wicket.
The stand-out shots of the first session certainly were a couple of back-foot punches by Hope off Umesh Yadav’s bowling. He also hit a front-foot cover drive before Umesh angled one in to get him leg before.