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Ishant back in business

india Updated: Jul 07, 2011 00:10 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times

Desperate times call for desperate measures although West Indies quickly found both their experiments to shore up their batting had failed just over an hour into the third and final Test that started on Wednesday.

Hunting in pair
Ishant Sharma continued to display his excellent form, showing no ill effects of an injury under his left eye, the result of a collision with new-ball partner Praveen Kumar during a soccer game on Monday evening.

The pair teamed up to reduce West Indies to 64 for three at lunch after skipper MS Dhoni elected to bowl first. The Windsor Park pitch, hosting Dominica's first-ever Test, produced bounce when the seamers bent their back but did not suggest it would be too tough for the batsmen.

Left-handers Darren Bravo (17 no) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (11 no) had added 29 runs for the fourth wicket at the interval, when the first spell of rain, although very light, forced the covers to be brought on briefly.

West Indies, who axed the experienced number three batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan due to his terrible form, also dropped struggling opener Lendl Simmons. In came two Test debutants, 21-year-old left-hander Kieran Powell to partner opener Adrian Barath. Kirk Edwards batted at number three although he showed no spark during the ODI series. Barath and Powell began with some confidence on a pitch that had some moisture in the morning.

It took nine overs for Kumar to find the first success, beating Powell (3) with late movement to force him to give VVS Laxman a low catch at second slip. By the end of the 17th, the hosts were down to 35 for three.

Sharma switched ends for his second spell and found success, using well-directed bouncers to shake up the diminutive Barath (12), who could only glove a pull onto his stumps. The tall bowler used the short-pitched delivery again to get rid of Kirk Edwards but he fell to a dubious decision by England umpire Richard Kettleborough.

Edwards was beaten trying to hook but TV replays showed the ball deflected off his helmet before Dhoni took the "catch".

Milestone man
Chanderpaul, 36, became the most capped West Indies Test player when he came out to join Bravo. The Guyanese batsman is playing in his 133rd match, going past the record he jointly held with former skipper and fast bowler Courtney Walsh.

The pair looked comfortable as Harbhajan Singh came on towards the end of the morning session but India can look forward to make more inroads, having caused the initial damage to justify the move to bowl.

Munaf Patel was included in the eleven for his first Test in two years, after he recovered from an elbow problem. He replaced Abhimanyu Mithun in the three-man pace attack.

The Karnataka pace bowler took three wickets in the drawn second Test in Barbados after Patel failed to get fit.

Although Dominica is not prominent in the West Indies cricketing map, it was a step up for the venue that has hosted four ODIs, involving Bangladesh and South Africa.

And there was good support for the home team in the stands that have been built with Chinese assistance.