Mohammed Shami made an impressive comeback to international cricket, almost a year-and-a-half after being forced out due to injury he aggravated during the 2015 World Cup. Shami ran through the middle order to finish with figures of 4 for 66 from 20 overs. On the other hand, Umesh Yadav, who has often disappointed, ran through the tail, picking up 4 for 41. Amit Mishra also chipped in with a couple of scalps, as West Indies were cleaned up for 243 in 90.2 overs. As the hosts followed on, Ishant Sharma trapped Windies first-innings top-scorer Kraigg Brathwaite.
On a slow pitch, the day began a lot more positively for West Indies. Brathwaite and nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo frustrated the Indian bowlers. Of course, they had luck going their way as well. Brathwaite constantly fended short deliveries in the air, but the ball fell agonisingly near the close-in fielders. Bishoo, on the other hand, played and missed on numerous occasions, and the Indian bowlers could only watch in exasperation. West Indies were aided by the fact that India did not bowl enough at Bishoo in the first half an hour as Brathwaite farmed the strike.
It needed the guile of Amit Mishra to end the nagging partnership. The leggie had Bishoo stumped as went for a sweep and dragged his foot out of the crease. Shami then furthered India’s advantage. Darren Bravo did not show the patience displayed by Brathwaite. He flirted outside off-stump at one that was rising, and unable to control his angled stroke, edged one behind to Saha. West Indies went to lunch at 90 for 3, India a much happier outfit than they were in the first hour when things weren’t quite going their way. More success was to follow in session two.
Marlon Samuels enjoys playing against India, but mustn’t have faced much of Shami who, unlike other Indian bowlers, is at the batsmen most often. A good length delivery saw Samuels nicking one behind, with the scoreboard again showing caught Saha bowled Shami. Jermaine Blackwood fell in the same over, failing to keep down a short ball. At 92 for 5 in the 49th over, follow-on seemed imminent. There was some resistance in the form of a partnership between Brathwaite and Roston Chase. They hung on for 16 overs to take the score to 139, before India hit back.
Yadav then got into the act, having chase caught off a short ball. He then bowled an unplayable delivery to Brathwaite, who was batting on 74. Yadav went wide of the crease, and angled in a bouncer, which Brathwaite could not glove to the wicket-keeper. Shane Dowrich, who is being played as a wicket-keeper in the game, resisted with a hard-fought half-century. Skipper Jason Holder also battled hard for his 36. Yadav, broke the partnership sending Holder and Carlos Brathwaite back off consecutive deliveries. Mishra then finished off the innings cleaning up last man Shannon Gabriel. West Indies will need a miracle to save the Test from this point.
--By A Cricket Analyst