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Rain hampers India’s victory charge in second Test

Darren Bravo

Kingston : Weather gods stood in the way of India’s victory charge after rain forced an early end to the fourth day with West Indies reeling at 48/4 in their second innings in the second Test here.

Rain played hide and seek at Sabina Park as the hosts lost four wickets by lunch with only 15.5 overs being bowled. While the sky was clear during the break, rain returned just minutes before the scheduled resumption of play.

No play was possible thereafter, with the day called off at 3.40 pm local time.

Tropical storm Earl hasn’t hit Jamaica with full fury, but persistent showers made sure that a lot of playing time was lost in the morning session, with forecast not too good for the remainder of the day either.

The hosts will try to save the match on day five, with play scheduled to begin at 9.30 am local time and 98 overs to be bowled in the day.

Considering the poor batting effort by the West Indies batsmen so far, it looks improbable they would make India bat again in the game.

Earlier, overnight showers made sure that 75 minutes were lost before play could resume and West Indies’ second innings could begin. Only three overs were possible before showers returned though, and forced another short break in play.

In this interim, play did get under way and Ishant Sharma (1-19) bowled Rajendra Chandrika (1), the opener shouldering arms to an incoming short delivery that was deflected onto his stumps off his arm.

After another rain break, Darren Bravo (20) joined Kraigg Brathwaite (23), and the duo never looked comfortable at the crease, particularly against Mohammed Shami (2-25) who used the conditions well.

He used the short ball to good effect against Bravo, hitting him on the forearm and the batsman was never confident thereafter. Somehow the two managed to stay at the wicket, as rain threatened to break play again.

Amit Mishra (1-4) was introduced into the attack thereafter, and after seeing through Ishant’s spell, Brathwaite played a needless stroke to get out.

He pulled a short delivery off the legspinner and Lokesh Rahul ran back from midwicket to complete the catch in the 13th over. An over later, Marlon Samuels (0) was bowled for a five-ball duck, as he left an incoming delivery from Shami.

Two overs later, Shami broke the West Indies’ batting order, as Bravo couldn’t cope with a short delivery again. He dabbed at it, just when he looked to leave it, and the ball lobbed up to Rahul at third slip and the batsman was on his way back.

The West Indies went into the lunch break, struggling to save this Test, with incessant rain now their only hope of survival. Jermaine Blackwood (3*) was the unbeaten batsman at the crease.

On day one, Ravichandran Ashwin picked up 5-52, his 18th five-wicket haul in 34 Test as West Indies were bundled out for 196 runs in the first innings.

On day two, Lokesh Rahul scored 158 runs, his 3rd Test hundred. On day three, Ajinkya Rahane scored 108*, his 7th Test hundred, as India finished at 500/9d and rain washed out the final session thereafter.

The visitors had won the first Test in Antigua by an innings and 92 runs.

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