Hyderabad: Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav asked probing questions as West Indies were in trouble at 86 for 3 at lunch on the first day of the second Test against India here on Friday.
At the stroke of lunch, Shai Hope (36) was dismissed by Umesh Yadav (1/36 in 9.3 overs) as India gained upper hand at the end of the opening session. Ashwin (10.2-7-7-1) and Kuldeep (1/21 in 8 overs) removed openers Kieran Powell (22) and Kraigg Brathwaite (14) even as the visiting batsmen were ready to curb their impetuosity and display more stomach for a fight.
The match did not start on a bright note for India as debutant pacer Shardul Thakur left the field complaining groin strain having merely bowled 10 deliveries. Thakur’s absence turned India into four-man attack.
Opener 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 be holed 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 batsmen played to a wrong line.
Youngsters Hope and Shimron Hetmeyer (10 batting), 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.