Ishant strikes to nudge India ahead as Windies bat listlessly | india | Hindustan Times
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Ishant strikes to nudge India ahead as Windies bat listlessly

India pacers have played a consistent role in the team's strong performances over the last few years. In the absence of Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth, however, there was worry on whether the department would click in the West Indies.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2011 01:08 IST
N Ananthanarayanan

India pacers have played a consistent role in the team's strong performances over the last few years. In the absence of Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth, however, there was worry on whether the department would click in the West Indies.

While Praveen Kumar's swing bowling has been an unexpected bonus after he was roped as an injury replacement, and then picked in the XI for the first Test in Kingston after Munaf Patel was ruled out due to an elbow injury, an equally heartening aspect is the impact of Ishant Sharma. The 22-year-old seemed to have lost some of his bite on the South African tour six months ago, but found his rhythm in the Indian Premier League.

On another overcast day, Ishant led India's fightback to reduce the West Indies to 82 for five at lunch (119 behind) on Wednesday, after the session was delayed by 45 minutes due to rain.

The hosts, who had dismissed India for 201 but were reduced to 30 for three at stumps on Tuesday, faced another typical batting collapse.

Their hopes hinge on Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels, who saw off some testing spells from Praveen and Karnataka paceman Abhimanyu Mithun on a Kensington Oval pitch which seemed to have lost some of the first day's life.

Pacers' paradise
Ishant, who took one of the wickets overnight, struck twice in the sixth over of the day to remove nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo (13) and Ramnaresh Sarwan. It pushed his tally of Test wickets to 99.

The pair had looked to break the shackles of the seam bowlers and did get a few edged runs until Ishant dug one short to force Bishoo to fend a catch to gully.

Sarwan succumbed to Ishant for the third time in the series. A poor shot had cost him his wicket in the second innings in Kingston as the West Indies chased a target. This time, he was beaten by one that nipped back and was trapped plumb in front.

Praveen made life miserable for Samuels but could not find success.