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Update: India tour of West Indies 2016 - Fixtures & News updates
Ashwin seals India's first innings win in WI

India 566 for 8 decl. (Kohli 200, Ashwin 113, Dhawan 84, Mishra 53) beat West Indies 243 (K Brathwaite 74, Dowrich 57* Yadav 4-41, Shami 4-66) and (f/o) 231 (C Brathwaite 51*, Samuels 50, Ashwin 7-83) by an innings and 92 runs

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R Ashwin took his first five-for outside Asia

It took more than four sessions coming, but once R Ashwin found his rhythm he ran through the West Indian line-up to seal India's first innings win in the Caribbean, and their biggest one outside Asia.

After lunch on day four, with India needing eight wickets to finish the match, Ashwin found dip and drift. Simultaneously, he cut out on the loose balls to earn a five-for and a hundred in the same Test for a second time, the most by an Indian. West Indies couldn't offer much resistance and folded in 78 overs, they only bettered that tally by 12.2 in the first innings.

Before Ashwin struck, Marlon Samuels and Rajendra Chandrika had managed to hold India up for 22 overs, which did frustrate India a little. Especially after an umpiring decision got India's goat. After Umesh Yadav had removed Darren Bravo in the first over of the morning - a repeat feeble push to a wide delivery from the first innings - Mohammed Shami, in his first over of the morning, hit Samuels' glove and offered a low chance to Wriddhiman Saha's left. The wicketkeeper claimed immediately.

Coach Anil Kumble, watching from the balcony, lifted his finger after the first replay. However, the replays - understandably not enough in terms of angles or quality for financial reasons - didn't return a verdict beyond reasonable doubt nor was there a soft signal made by the on-field umpires. So the benefit of that doubt went to Samuels. His bat obscured the front-on replay somewhat, and there was nothing else to go by. The third umpire erred on the side of caution.

Virat Kohli wasn't amused. He was seen having an animated conversation with Ian Gould, who had irritated the Indian captain on day two too. Kohli was trying to get in an extra over before stumps, but Gould conversing on a walkie-talkie had denied them.

In a glimpse of what makes him a frustrating batsman to watch in Tests - a superb stroke maker but an average under 35 - Samuels drove and cut gorgeously to take 23 off the 19 balls after his reprieve. Rain arrived, 40 minutes before lunch, and several players walked straight to a laptop and sat around it, perhaps watching the replays and wondering how Samuels had survived.

India lost 15 minutes because of the rain. When an early lunch was taken, Ashwin had only bowled 22 overs in the match. He had offered too many balls to cut and was the only wicketless Indian bowler at the time. On a pitch that didn't assist spin, and against batsmen who were happy to sit back, he was made to work hard.

Ashwin's rhythm, however, returned immediately after the break. He beat Samuels in flight, with the ball dipping and hitting him on the pad. The next ball didn't turn as much, and took a soft outside edge for two runs. That was followed by another probing over, replete with a leading edge. You could sense Ashwin was building up to something.

He had Chandrika believing he was driving at a half-volley, but the dip created distance, and Saha juggled a low catch off the batsman's pad. Replays weren't conclusive vis-à-vis the inside edge, but Chandrika didn't protest at all. Next up was Jermaine Blackwood, for a pair. Once again, Ashwin created the distance with drift and dip, and the offbreak was driven to short midwicket.

Samuels became the victim of drift. As it is, he likes staying beside the line, but this one from Ashwin drifted away, and then didn't turn as much as he expected, hitting the top of off stump. The ball kept dipping on the inexperienced batsmen, who were arguably facing this quality of spin bowling for the first time, and debutant Roston Chase soon fell to forward short leg because his intended block didn't reach the pitch of the ball.

Amit Mishra broke the Ashwin streak with a topspinner that trapped Shane Dowrich, but Ashwin finished his first five-for outside Asia with another beauty. Jason Holder thought he could drive at a seemingly full offbreak, but the ball drifted away to create the bat-pad gap, and turned through it to hit the leg stump. Ashwin had taken five wickets in 51 balls.

A win seemed only a matter of time but India got fancy with bowling changes, and Carlos Brathwaite and Devendra Bishoo made them wait 24.1 overs for their ninth wicket. Forced to take the tea break, Ashwin came back to end the match with the wickets of Bishoo and Shannon Gabriel in one over.
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Congrats to Indian Team.... very good win for India....
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India's win margin of Innings & 92 runs in this game is their biggest victory outside Asia.

The previous highest was by an innings and 90 runs against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo in 2005.
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Thumb injury rules Murali Vijay out of Jamaica Test

India opening batsman, Murali Vijay has been ruled out of the second Test against West Indies in Jamaica starting on Saturday (July 30). The right-hander failed to sufficiently recover from a finger injury sustained during his side's victory in Antigua.

KL Rahul, the back-up opener in the side, will replace Vijay and partner Shikhar Dhawan upfront.

Vijay, 32, injured his right thumb when he was dismissed by a Shannon Gabriel delivery that struck his finger before ballooning towards the slip cordon. The elegant right-hander, who was visibly discomforted by the blow, didn't take the field during West Indies' innings and was not required to bat in the second essay as India completed an innings and 92-run victory to take a 1-0 series lead.

He batted very little at the nets on the eve of thegame, only stepping out to hit some throwdowns towards the end of the session. He was also conspicuous by his absence during the fielding drills, running laps around the ground instead of taking catches at slip.

Speaking about the setback, Virat Kohli, India team captain said, "Unfortunately, Vijay has to miss out because of injury. (It's) not good for him. He's someone who has always done well for the team, always takes pride in playing for the country. He was not really happy with getting hit in the first innings, (but it) is not in his control."

Kohli was, however, happy that he had a sound fall-back option in KL Rahul, saying it makes his job easy as a captain when he has such good bench strength. The 24-year-old Rahul, who replaced Vijay in the line-up for two Tests when the latter picked up a hamstring injury during India's tour of Sri Lanka in 2015, has enjoyed a fine run of form in the build-up to the Test series, albeit in the shorter formats. He enjoyed a breakthrough season in the Indian Premier League, where he finished with a season tally of 397 runs playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. His consistent run of form through the Twenty20 tournament paved the way for his ODI and T20I debuts in Zimbabwe, where he was amongst the team's best batsmen. In five Test matches so far, Rahul has notched up two hundreds but averages a modest 25.60..

"Well, (Rahul has) been in a very good zone," Kohli said. "He scored runs in the practice games, he scored in Zimbabwe, we all know that. He had a great IPL season. I think that was the turnaround for confidence as far as he's concerned. Last year, he had a good tour to Sri Lanka, got a hundred there. Again, didn't play against South Africa.

"It's more a case of a guy waiting for an opportunity. You can see that with him. You can sense it. He wants to play. He's batting really well, he wants to make it count. He wants to get big runs. I'm confident of his abilities. He's pretty compact, he's a solid opener and he's a great fielder as well. Gives you that wicket-keeping option as well, in case something happens to Saha," he said.

"He's all in all, he's a great package for the team and it's great to see that he's going to get a Test match.

India currently lead the series 1-0, having claimed a big win in Antigua. The second Test will get underway at Sabina Park, Jamaica on Saturday.

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Ashwin stars in another day of Indian domination

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Ashwin got his 18th five-wicket haul in Tests

The series was crying out for a good performance from the West Indies. They were thoroughly outplayed in Antigua, and needed a solid start at Jamaica to show they were no pushovers.

On a pitch that had a bit of juice for the bowlers, and boasting of three raw and quick pacers in their squad, the hosts were well placed to make their fightback.

When they won the toss early on Saturday (July 30), it seemed a more even contest would unfold. Jason Holder, surprisingly, opted to bat first and two sessions later, his side was bowled out for 196. R Ashwin was the destroyer in chief, picking up his 18th five-wicket haul. With the bat, India continued their dominance and ended the day at a commanding 126/1.

Having opted to bat first, West Indies suffered a terrible collapse to be struggling at seven for three. Two Jamaicans, however, stemmed the rot with a fine partnership that saw everything from dogged defence to massive sixes. Jermaine Blackwood was the main architect of the resurrection, slamming a quick-fire half century to lift his side out of trouble, while Marlon Samuels overcame a nervy start, taking 30 balls to open his account, and stood firm at the other end.

The opening session was dominated by the Indian bowlers, and sight-screen issues that stopped play as many as three times during the first 20 minutes. Ishant Sharma found the right line and length on a pitch that offered the bowlers some help, while Mohammad Shami pegged away at the other end.

Ishant eventually surprised Kraigg Brathwaite with a short delivery, and the batsman gloved the ball to Cheteshwar Pujara at short-leg. Darren Bravo was undone by a superb delivery first up - a good length delivery that caught the left-hander in two minds. His half prod resulted in a thick edge, and Virat Kohli pounced a superb catch diving to his right.

Two became three soon after as Rajendra Chandrika edged Mohammad Shami to KL Rahul at third slip.

Virat Kohli continued with the opening bowlers for the first hour, and the ploy backfired as Blackwood slammed Ishant Sharma for two fours and a six just before the first drinks break. Blackwood got to his fifty not long after, taking full advantage of a pitched up Amit Mishra delivery and slamming it over the ropes. It was a timely knock for the right-hander, who bagged a pair in the previous Test, and was favourite for the drop prior to the game.

He could not, however, convert his start to a big knock and was out LBW to Ashwin on the stroke of Lunch.

In the second session, Ashwin came into his own, picking up four wickets and completing another five-wicket haul. There was stop-start beginning to this session with rain making an appearance. Soon after play resumed, India got the danger-man Marlon Samuels out for 37. One ball prior to the dismissal, the right-hander had slammed Ashwin over the head for six. But the off-spinner tossed the next ball up further, inviting Samuels to do an encore. Samuels took the bait, but only managed to inside-edge the ball to Rahul at forward short leg.

Shane Dowrich fell soon after, becoming Ashwin's third victim, feathering an edge through to the keeper. Shami ended Roston Chase's vigil by getting the right-hander to edge through to first slip.

Ashwin went on to pick up his second five-wicket haul in as many innings as he had Devendra Bishoo and Jason Holder out in quick succession. While Bishoo perished to a top-edge while trying the sweep, Holder was out in similar fashion to Samuels.

Shannon Gabriel and Miguel Cummins added some entertainment towards the end with a quick-fire, slog-studded 38-run stand before Mishra got Gabriel out caught for 15.

In reply, India got off to a solid start. KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan got the team off to the perfect start by putting on a 50-run stand for the first wicket.

Rahul got things underway with a neat straight drive off Gabriel, but found himself in a spot when the bowler pitched it short. Miguel Cummins from the other end looked sharp, too, as West Indies pressed for an early wicket.

The opening pair saw off the initial burst safely and started to impose themselves on the bowlers. Rahul was the more assertive of the duo, scoring boundaries consistently. Dhawan was more circumspect but hardly missed out on any scoring opportunity. The pair was also very good with their running between the wickets, dropping the ball into empty spaces and haring across to get off strike.

Rahul was offered a reprieve on 46 when Darren Bravo dropped a chance at mid-wicket off Roston Chase. He brought up his fifty in the next over, slamming Bishoo to the leg side for four.

With the West Indies spinners bowling, Rahul and Dhawan looked to attack them. The ploy backfired as Dhawan was out caught off Chase for 27.

Rahul and Pujara saw off the remaining overs with an unbeaten 39-run stand as India ended the day at 125/1.

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Rahane shines with ton before rain plays spoilsport

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Ajinkya Rahane got to his 7th Test ton

'Damaging winds and flooding rainfall'. That was what was predicted for Tuesday (Aug 2) in Jamaica. There was little hope of a full day's play on Day 3 of the Test between India and West Indies. Tropical storm Earl was expected to hit the country today and even a weather alert was issued, asking small vessels on the sea to return to shore as strong winds and heavy rains were expected.

The winds were mostly non-existent, while the rainfall did not really match up to 'flooding' predictions. But it was enough to wreak havoc in the cricket match that was played at Sabina Park.

Only 46.1 overs were possible in the day, during which India amassed 500/9 declared, their lead swelling to 304 runs. The first session was not interrupted by rain, but India found themselves up against a West Indies attack that was determined not to give away any easy runs. They could only manage 67 runs in the session, losing Wriddhiman Saha at the very end of the session.

The second session of the day was held up by rain a couple of time, with the first one lasting close to an hour, and the second forcing the umpires to declare early Tea. While the third one was entirely washed off.

Ajinkya Rahane and Roston Chase were the stars on the truncated day, with the former slamming his seventh Test hundred and Chase picking up his first ever five-wicket haul, in only his second Test.

The start of Day 3 turned out to be a carbon copy of how the previous day unfurled. Well, almost.

A cautious start, an attritional phase of play, India stretch lead. But just as it looked like India would go into Lunch having lost no wickets in the day, Jason Holder struck to send back Saha off what turned out to be the final ball of the session. It was a deserving wicket, too.

Several times after the drinks interval, Holder was close to getting the better of Rahane. He had the batsmen in trouble trying to play the ball to the leg side, but the LBW appeals were all turned down by umpire Aleem Dar. He also deceived Rahane with deliveries that left the batsman, but Rahane was lucky not to feather an edge through. He also earned a lucky reprieve off Devendra Bishoo when Rajendra Chandrika put down an easy chance at point.

Earlier, Saha and Ajinkya Rahane had continued their unbeaten stand, extending their alliance to 98 runs, as India tightened their grip on the Test. Rahane went on to notch up his eighth Test fifty, while Saha fell three short of his third as India went to Lunch at 425/6, with a lead of 229.

The West Indies pacers, Shannon Gabriel and Miguel Cummins stuck to their lines and made the Indians work for the runs. Rahane and Saha were rarely uncomfortable but were made to work for their runs.

Once the spinners came on, both batsmen started to play a little more positively as India got their lead past 200 and their score past the 400-run mark.

Rahane, batting with the tail, notched up his seventh Test hundred in the next session. With rain on the horizon, the Indians looked to be as aggressive as possible. Rahane slammed Holder for a four wide of point, while Amit Mishra launched Devendra Bishoo into the stands. India had reached 456/6 when the first rain interruption took place.

Rain was always forecast for but when it arrived, it was much more softer than expected, never progressing beyond a steady drizzle. Play resumed after a break of about 50 minutes.

Roston Chase, who had already taken two wickets, struck off consecutive balls to send back Mishra (for 21) and Mohammad Shami (0).

Rahane hit the spinner for a big six as he moved into the ninties. Luckily for him, an edge off Chase in the next over escaped the slip fielder and helped him bring up his Test hundred.

India declared as soon as Umesh Yadav was out with the side on 500/9. With the West Indies innings about to resume, rain played spoilsport once again and Tea was taken. That turned out to be the last action for the day.

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Quick strikes dent West Indies before storm

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Despite several rain breaks, India picked up four wickets in the first session

Only 15.5 overs were bowled during the morning session that lasted three and a half hours, but there was still enough time to find heroes in Jamaica. Mohammad Shami struck twice late in the session to leave the home side reeling, while Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra took one wicket each. But the true heroes were the groundsmen.

Tropical wave Earl had finally arrived at Jamaica, and true to its name, wave after wave of rain hit Sabina Park on Tuesday (August 2). The were enough stoppages in the session's play to warrant the West Indies media manager to sit back in the press box and play Bob Marley songs aloud. 'Every little thing is gonna be alright,' he promised. We hoped.

But the heroes, were the ground staff. They were called into action multiple times in the morning and just after noon. They had to battle really strong winds, and sudden bursts of sharp rain to ensure they kept the pitch covered and dry enough to straight away resume play when rain stopped.

When the rain relented, which happened almost as quickly as it happened, they were quick to pull off the covers, making sure none of the water was spilled onto the pitch or the ground, and allow the players to take the field, again.

But again and again, rain played the fool. The moment players were on the field, rain made its appearance felt. And soon after they left, it disappeared.

In whatever little cricket was possible, India moved closer to victory as Ishant Sharma struck in the third over of the innings to send back the woefully out of form Rajendra Chandrika for 1. Mohammad Shami pinged Darren Bravo on the wrist with a vicious bouncer, leaving the left-hander in pain.

Kraigg Brathwaite survived when a couple of edges didn't carry and instead found the fence behind the wicketkeeper or the slip fielders.

But you can survive on luck for only that long before it runs out. And it ran out when Amit Mishra was brought on to bowl in the 13th over. The right-hander miscued a pull off a short delivery and offered KL Rahul a regulation catch.

Marlon Samuels walked out to play what could be his final Test innings in Jamaica, and his knock lasted just five deliveries, as Mohammad Shami bowled the right-hander with a peach of a delivery, leaving the batsman a touch to disturb the off-stump.

Three became four in Shami's next over. He had consistently troubled Darren Bravo with the short delivery, and it proved to be the batsmen's demise as he gloved a catch to Rahul for 20.

West Indies had slumped to a sorry state at 48 for 4 at Lunch, staring at another humongous innings defeat.

Rain however arrived again after Lunch and no further play was possible.

India will hope that the weather stays good tomorrow and give them a good chance of completing the victory.

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Roston Chase's maiden ton foils India's victory bid

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Chase became the first West Indian player since Sobers to score a ton and bag a five-fer in the same Test

Ironically, when West Indies brought out their best cricket to defy India on the final day of the 2nd Test in Jamaica, less than 100 spectators were witness to it.

Over the past four days, with India dominating and rain intervening, the support for the home side had steadily decreased. What was around 500 on the opening day had reduced to, probably, single digits on the final day. Unfortunately for them, they missed out on a truly spectacular's days play, with Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Jermaine Blackwood and Jason Holder joining hands to earn their side a credible draw.

Chase hit a well-deserved and mightily impressive hundred under immense pressure, following up on his five-wicket haul on Day 3, and became the first West Indies player since Sir Garfield Sobers in 1966 to hit a hundred and take a fifer in one Test. His knock was a free-flowing one, studded with 15 fours and one six, and we was involved in three vital stands with Blackwood, Dowrich and Holder, each one lasting almost an entire session, as West Indes overcame their deficit of 304 and held firm.

Chase started off by taking on the Indian bowlers, with him and Blackwood happy to hit over the top and put the Indians on the backfoot. The tactic worked to perfection as the home side not only damaged the bowlers' confidence, but also kept their wicket intact. As he settled, Chase started to play more judiciously, comfortably playing out the spinners and the pacers. His legside play was particularly solid, showing he was good with using his wrists playing with or against the spin.

He let Dowrich dominate the bowlers in the second session, settling into a sheet-anchor role, and easily changing strike over. When Dowrich departed, and with the new ball in play, Chase, once again, displayed great maturity to not throw his wicket away and take his side to safety. He ended with 137 not out as West Indies opted for the draw at 388/6.

For the last eight days of cricket that was played in the series, Anil Kumble would step out with the reserve bowlers and work on the finer aspects of their game. He did this during every Lunch interval. With his side performing the way it was, his presence with the bench was perhaps more important.

But on Wednesday, he didn't come out at Lunch. His team would've needed his inputs.

Chase, Blackwood and Dowrich had just combined to wallop the Indian bowlers for 167 in the first session. Amit Mishra was proving to be especially costly, but none of the other bowlers looked close to being a constant threat.

Earlier in the day, with West Indies starting the day at 48/4 and staring at another innings defeat, Chase and Blackwood forged an attacking stand. Blackwood had slammed a fine fifty in the first innings adopting the same attacking approach, and the encore worked for the home side. He slammed two fours and a six in a single over, while Chase hit Mishra for two fours forcing Virat Kohli to bring in Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav into the attack.

From 48/4, West Indies had moved to 100/4 in less than 9 overs.

With no hint of a wicket, Kohli turned to his main man, R Ashiwn. Blackwood took him on immediately, slamming the off-spinner for two sixes in quick succession, and bringing up his second fifty of the match.

The pair added 93 runs in quick time, off just 103 balls , before Ashwin delivered. The off-spinner had switched to around the wicket after Blackwood had taken him for a six, and the move worked for India. Blackwood's forward defense popped up ever so slightly, and Cheteshwar Pujara scooped down low to pluck a superb catch. Blackwood was out for 63 off 54 balls, a knock that included nine fours and two sixes.

Chase and Dowrich combined to add fifty runs for the sixth wicket as West Indies crossed the 200-run mark and also reduced the lead to double figures.

Post Lunch, West Indies' fightback continued with both batsmen playing freely.

Dowrich went on to bring up his third Test fifty soon as deficit came down to 50. Amit Mishra and R Ashwin, bowling with a change of ends, tied up the batsman a bit, and almost immediately India had their chance to get a breakthrough. Mishra induced an edge off Dowrich, but the edge flew wide of slip, and Ajinkya Rahane, diving to his right, could not complete the catch.

India's breakthrough finally came in the 71st over, but it came courtesy an umpiring blunder. Dowrich had inside-edged Mishra onto his pads, but umpire Ian Gould missed the edged and ruled the wicketkeeper-batsman LBW for 74.

Dowrich had played beautifully until then, hitting six fours and one six off Ashwin, and adding 144 runs alongside Chase to bring his side closer to safety. He looked on course to get his maiden hundred before ill-luck intervened.

Chase got to his hundred soon after, and with Holder for company helped the West Indies erase the deficit.

India took the new ball as soon as it was made available, but West Indies stood firm to take Tea at 320/6.

India found another immovable object in Jason Holder in the final session, as the West Indies captain hit a fine fifty and along with Chase took their side to a morale-boosting draw.
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Ashwin, Saha restore parity after early blows

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Ashwin and Saha shared an unbeaten 108-run stand for the sixth wicket

If you'd just read the scores, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it was West Indies batting and India resuming their dominance. But, look again. West Indies bowled with vigour and discipline to leave India in a bit of a spot by Tea on Day 1 of the third Test at the Darren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia. However, a superb unbeaten stand of 108 between R Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha bailed India out of some trouble and took them to a decent position at 234 for 5 when stumps were called on Tuesday (August 9).

The pair masked all the trouble India had put themselves in during the first two sessions.

It was a morning of surprises at St Lucia. The pitch was a welcome sight, offering the bowlers assistance and making it tough for batsmen to score easily. West Indies handed a debut to young fast bowler Alzarri Joseph. But the biggest surprise came from the Indian team as they made three changes to the squad that played in Jamaica, each one more surprising than the last.

With the pitch offering good bounce and carry, Umesh Yadav, who has a tendency to surprise batsmen with his pace, was dropped for Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Ravindra Jadeja was preferred over Amit Mishra, while Rohit Sharma's call-up to the side in place of Cheteshwar Pujara was a bolt from the blue. Murali Vijay, presumably still unfit, did not make it back to the side.

West Indies won the toss and elected to bowl first, and immediately had India in trouble.

Their new-ball pair of Shannon Gabriel and Joseph kept the Indian batsmen on their toes with some sharp, short deliveries. Gabriel got his side their first breakthrough as he had Shikhar Dhawan caught down the leg side for 1.

Joseph, who has been impressive with his pace and discipline, got the big wicket of Virat Kohli three overs later with a superb delivery. The India captain could only edge a shortish delivery, that left him after pitching, to first slip to be out for 3.

India had slipped to 19 for 2 and were in need of a revival.

The revival came through a fighting stand of 58 from Ajinkya Rahane and KL Rahul. The pair were kept honest for most part of their innings by the West Indies pacers, but the duo fought it out.

Both players had hit superb hundreds in the last game, and looked to carry on from where they'd left in Jamaica. Rahul was the more fluent of the duo, driving and cutting fluently, and brought up his fifty.

He was out immediately after, clipping Roston Chase uppishly to short fine leg as the visitors went in to Lunch at 87 for 3.

The home side were playing great cricket, but sadly there were not many to cheer them on. Darren Sammy's axing as the captain of the West Indies' Twenty20 International side had resulted in a boycott of the opening day, with many fans standing outside the stadium with cards indicating their support for Sammy.

The former himself made an appearance soon after, and urged the public to "not get arrested" and "go support the team," but sadly crowd did not seep in.

If India had hoped that by dropping Pujara they can get the upper hand by scoring more quickly and freely, the plan came undone. India couldn't find any loose balls to try and score off as they clawed their way to 130 for 5 at Tea on Day 1. They only managed to score 43 runs in the second session while losing both Rohit and Rahane.

West Indies started the session with some tight bowling as Rohit and Rahane struggled to get off the mark. Rohit, brought in as Pujara's replacement, fell soon after, edging behind while on 9.

Rahane and R Ashwin added 39 runs off 141 balls as West Indies tightened the screws. Roston Chase held up one end with a dominant leg-side field as both the batsmen were content with blocking the deliveries. But, West Indies were just one stroke of luck away from getting their breakthrough and it happened just before Tea as Rahane missed a friendly full toss off Chase to be bowled for 35 off 133 balls.

Wriddhiman Saha and Ashwin kept India in the game with a dogged 108-run stand. The pair was mostly defensive to start with, and with the outfield heavy, boundaries were at a premium, too. West Indies finally prised out the wicket of Ashwin when Shannon Gabriel went around the wickets and had Ashwin caught at point, but replays showed that the bowler had cut the side crease. Ashwin was handed a lucky reprieve on 35.

Ashwin, who has three Test hundreds against West Indies to his name, went on to bring up his fifty soon after.

West Indies opted for the new ball soon after it was made available, but India started to counter-attack. Saha hit two boundaries in quick succession as India went past the 200-run mark, while Ashwin also helped himself to back-to-back boundaries.

India ended the day at 234 for 5 with Ashwin unbeaten on 75 and Saha batting on 46.

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West Indies fight back after tons from Ashwin, Saha

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West Indies had their first fifty-plus opening stand since 2014

R Ashwin continued to make a strong case for himself as India's number six batsman as he slammed a superb fourth Test hundred, his previous three coming against the West Indies by the way, to help India overcome their top order collapse on the opening day. With him for company was the spunky Wriddhiman Saha, mixing caution with aggression, and getting to his maiden Test hundred.

Apart from these two, India's batting card cut a sorry figure.

R Ashwin + Wriddhiman Saha = 222

Rest (including extras) = 131

Ashwin and Saha forged a superb 213-run alliance by mid-day on Day 2. The stand had allowed India to recover from 126/5 and had put them at a strong position. Once their mega stand ended, however, it was back to how the match had unfurled before the two had gotten together. India lost wickets in a heap to be bowled out for 353. Their last four wickets falling for just two runs.

Before the heap of wickets, which was triggered by Saha's dismissal, India were in complete control. The pair had added 213 runs and denied the West Indies bowlers for the entire morning.

Ashwin was unbeaten on 99 when Lunch was taken, and quickly went past the three figure mark with a shimmy down the wicket and a hit for six over long-on.

He continued to bat as beautifully as he did on Day One. The pitch had seemingly eased out, but Ashwin's guard certainly hadn't. He defended with authority, drove with purpose and flicked the ball into the gaps. With the outfield being a slow, heavy one, Ashwin also showed that he was a wilful runner, a trait he has been looking to improve upon, even bringing in a specialist coach from South Africa to Chennai for a couple of days to help with his running.

He moved to 99 with only his fifth boundary of the innings, a cut off Miguel Cummins that found the third-man fence. Before Lunch, the Indian team had assembled at the balcony to applaud Ashwin's century, they stood there for 28 deliveries in anticipation, but the century never came. The applause, however, was still heartfelt.

Saha followed suit soon after. Hitting a full toss from Roston Chase wide of cover to pick up a couple and get his maiden Test century. Off came his helmet, his cap and his hands went aloft as he soaked in the applause his teammates and the sparse crowd were according him. It was a truly special knock, helping India overcome a dire situation, and a moment the 31-year-old is likely to have imprinted in his mind forever.

He had scored 46 important runs the previous day, and he added the four required to bring up his third Test fifty, but he was only getting started. He started to impose himself a lot more playing the drive well, flicking the ball into the gaps and lofting the spinners to the boundary.

Saha looked to be positive throughout his innings, hitting as many as 13 boundaries during his 227-ball essay. He was mostly vigilant, but pounced on any opportunity to put the bad ball away.

Alzarri Joseph, who has been impressive on his debut, orchestrated the second Indian collapse. The youngster picked up his third wicket of the game, as he had Saha caught behind for 104 with a full delivery that shaped away just enough to take the edge. India's highest ever sixth-wicket stand against West Indies had ended at 213, with India's score at 339.

Miguel Cummins had bowled over 45 overs in Test cricket without getting a wicket. Off his 281st delivery, he had Ravindra Jadeja caught behind for 6. Cummins's relief was quite apparent, he leapt with joy and punched the air before being mobbed by his teammates.

He ended the innings with three wickets to his name, ending Ashwin's superb knock at 118 and getting rid of Ishant Sharma for a duck. India were bowled out for 353, a total that mid-way on the opening day would have been gleefully accepted, but at Lunch on the next day would have been seen with disappointment.

West Indies's new opening pair of Leon Johnson and Kraigg Brathwaite started off on the right footing. They hit the team's first 50-run opening partnership since December 2014. The pair showed a particular liking for the short ball, happily hanging back and pulling in front of square to get their side off to a decent start. The stand should have ended much earlier when Mohammad Shami had Leon Johnson edging to the slips. KL Rahul, however, put down a tough chance diving to his left.

Rahul redeemed himself with a brilliant piece of skill that had Johnson run-out for 21. Johnson had tapped the ball a little wide of Rahul at mid-wicket and set of for the run, but Rahul was quick to react and threw down the stumps at the non-striker's end with an accurate throw.

The same accuracy was lacking in the Indian pacers, with Ishant Sharma, especially, spraying the ball around. The right-hand left-hand combination of Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo made it harder for the bowlers to get their length right.

Brathwaite went on to bring up his fifty in the last over of the day, hitting Ishant for two fours in the over. The duo took the team to stumps at a promising 107/1, 246 behind India's total.

Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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