Port Of Spain: India were in firm control of the first Test against the West Indies after Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin helped the visitors amass 556 for eight on day two.
With India declaring post tea, pacer Mohammed Shami, who is back in action after a long layoff, removed Rajendra Chandrika to reduce the West Indies to 31 for one in 16 overs. The hosts trail India by 535 runs going into day three at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. It was memorable day for captain Kohli (200 off 283) balls), who eased to his maiden double hundred in Tests before Ashwin (113 off 253) struck his third Test ton to ensure it was another tough day for the ordinary West Indies bowling attack. A sloppy effort in the field also made matters worse for the home team.
India, who began the day at 302 for four, were allowed to score freely by the West Indies bowlers, so much so that tail-ender Amit Mishra raced to 53 off 68 balls towards the end of the innings lasting 161.5 overs. The visitors continued to bat on after being placed at 512/6 at tea, and Ashwin came out again with Mishra. While the former was accounted for Kraigg Brathwaite, the latter carried on to play some attacking strokes and reached his 4th Test half-century off 67 balls.
Mishra was out immediately afterwards, holing out to midwicket off Brathwaite again, as the innings was declared closed in the 162nd over. Shami was the unbeaten batsman on 17, and he made good use of being dropped twice to strike some lusty blows. Thereafter, the West Indies’ openers nearly saw out the testing overs before close of play. Both Chandrika (16) and Kraigg Brathwaite (11*) didn’t seem to be looking for runs, and instead decided to play for time, leaving as many deliveries as possible. Just as they looked set to finish the day without loss, Shami managed to induce an edge off Chandrika, who was caught behind.
Earlier, Ashwin put on 71 runs with Wriddhiman Saha (40 runs) in the post-lunch session. Their stand came after Kohli had scored his maiden Test double hundred to put his side in command. The Indian captain was perhaps looking to bat longer after the lunch break, but didn’t last long as Shannon Gabriel (2-65) finally broke the 168-run stand with Ashwin. Kohli played onto his stumps off the second ball of the second session, and was dismissed for an exact 200 runs with his knock comprising 24 fours.
Saha then joined Ashwin and the two continued to frustrate the West Indies’ bowling. At the same time, the hosts didn’t show much intention to get into the Indian tail, perhaps resigned to the fact that the only end to their time in the field was a declaration.