Jamaica: West Indies’ vulnerable top-order crumbled again in between the showers to be 48 for four in their second innings at the end of a rain-curtailed fourth day’s play in the second Test against India at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Tuesday.
Trailing on first innings by 304 runs after the tourists reached 500 for nine declared at tea on the third day, the hosts will start the final day’s play facing a deficit of 256 runs to avoid a second consecutive innings defeat in the four-match series. Frustrated by a weather system that erased the final session on day three and delayed the start of play on the fourth morning for over an hour, India’s varied attack made up for the lost time by again exploiting the glaring weaknesses of the West Indies batsmen.
With his place in the team on the line after a succession of low scores in his fledgling Test career, Rajendra Chandrika was the first to go, bowled for one by a delivery that made extra height from tall fast bowler Ishant Sharma and rebounded off the batsman’s right elbow onto the stumps as he attempted to pull out of the shot.
His opening partner, Kraigg Brathwaite, and new batsman Darren Bravo were peppered with regular short-pitched bowling from both Sharma and Mohammed Shami. Bravo in particular was lucky to survive the concerted assault but at the other end, the introduction of Amit Mishra broke the 36-run stand when Brathwaite, on 23, miscued an attempted pull off the leg-spinner for Lokesh Rahul to take the catch running back from midwicket.
Marlon Samuels was comprehensively bowled by Shami with no addition to the total and off what proved to be the last delivery before the interval, Bravo failed to negotiate another lifting delivery angled into the body and Rahul held the catch at third slip to remove the left-hander for 20. In losing three wickets for seven runs at the end of the truncated session, in which only 15.5 overs were bowled, the West Indies exactly replicated their predicament at the start of the match when their captain, Jason Holder, won the toss and chose to bat first.
Roston Chase, who claimed five wickets with his off-spinners in India’s marathon innings, was expected to join Jermaine Blackwood at the crease in the afternoon session with the home side in desperate need of some meaningful resistance. However, rains eventually prevented a restart during the day, and the West Indies batsmen will hope the weather intervenes again on the final day to help them avoid another innings defeat.