Dravid's class and pacemen hand India initiative
A typically resolute century by Rahul Dravid and the new-ball pair of Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar put India in a strong position for victory in the first Test against West Indies on Wednesday.cricket Updated: Jun 23, 2011 12:02 IST
A typically resolute century by Rahul Dravid and the new-ball pair of Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar put India in a strong position for victory in the first Test against West Indies on Wednesday.
Dravid made 112 - his 32nd test century - before he was the last man dismissed, as the Indians were bowled out for 252 in their second innings on the third day at Sabina Park, setting the hosts 326 for victory.
Sharma and Kumar then put the brakes on a promising West Indies start, removing the home team's top order, as they reached 131 for three in their second innings at stumps.
Kumar made the breakthrough, when he had Adrian Barath caught at a deliberately-placed third slip for a quick-fire 38, leaving West Indies 62 for one.
Next over, Sharma condemned Ramnaresh Sarwan to another failure, when the stylish right-hander edged a loose, flat-footed drive, and was caught at gully for a second-ball duck.
Sharma continued to plug away, gaining appreciable bounce and movement from the hard, true pitch, and was rewarded when he bowled Lendl Simmons for 27.
The Indian bowlers continued to probe away for the remainder of the day, but Darren Bravo, not out on 30, and fellow left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul, not out on 24, resisted firmly, putting on 51 - unbroken - for the fourth wicket.
Earlier, Dravid was a pillar of defiance, batting in typically dogged fashion for close to seven hours, striking 10 fours and one six from 274 balls, and holding the innings together in the face of purposeful bowling from West Indies.
He reached his hundred from 252 balls, dabbing a delivery from Fidel Edwards into point for a single.
Dravid shared in an important ninth-wicket stand of 56 with Amit Mishra, after West Indies captain Darren Sammy removed Harbhajan Singh and Kumar in the space of three balls, as India slipped to 183 for eight in the first 35 minutes after lunch.
Mishra batted confidently, showing great courage against a barrage of short-pitched bowling, particularly from Edwards, armed with the second new ball.
He spent just over 1¼ hours at the crease making 28 before he was caught at third man off Sammy, trying an upper cut.
Dravid soon followed, caught at long-on, going for the second time in the match to leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo.
The Indians had seemed destined for a much earlier close to their innings, when Sammy had Harbhajan dubiously lbw for five. Television replays suggested the ball would have bounced over the top of the stumps.
Two deliveries later, Kumar was bowled for a duck, playing across a well-pitched yorker from Sammy, but Mishra arrived to play the part of spoiler.
Sammy finished with four for 52 from 27 overs, and Bishoo captured four for 65 from 24.5 overs.
Before lunch, India had lost two wickets - both to Bishoo - in the last half-hour before the interval, sliding to 166 for six.
Left-hander Suresh Raina was caught at leg-slip for 27, gloving a sweep at a delivery from Bishoo into the legs of wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh Jr before the ball lobbed to Sammy.
In typical fashion, Mahendra Singh Dhoni played a few rousing strokes, including a straight six off Bishoo, before he cut the final delivery before lunch from the same bowler straight to the cover fielder, much to his chagrin.
India had been setback early, after they continued from their overnight total of 91 for three, when Edwards had Virat Kohli caught behind down the leg-side for 15, leaving the Indians 100 for four.