|Kraigg Brathwaite and Adrian Barath, above, added 137 for the opening wicket giving the Windies a solid start [AFP]|
West Indies’ top four made the most of ideal batting conditions at Wankhede Stadium and put their team on course for a big first innings total at the close of the first day in the third and final Test against India in Mumbai.
Openers Kraigg Brathwaite (68) and Adrian Barath (62) gave the visitors an ideal start with a 137-run stand after captain Darren Sammy won the toss and opted to bat first on an easy-paced pitch in the hope of avoiding a 3-0 series whitewash.
Kirk Edwards (65 not out) and Darren Bravo (57 not out) then scripted an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 117 runs to further consolidate West Indies’ position and took the team to 267 for two wickets at the close on Tuesday.
India’s off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin found enough turn before tea to account for both the right-handed opening batsmen, which turned out to be the only scalps in the day for the hosts.
Edwards, on 29, received a life when captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni floored a difficult caught behind opportunity off Virender Sehwag’s bowling.
Bravo, who made 136 in the second innings in the last test in Kolkata, was also dropped on 33 by Rahul Dravid at the lone slip position off left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha’s bowling.
|First day scorecard|
West Indies first innings
A Barath c Dhoni b Ashwin 62
India lead series 2-0
Both Edwards (10 fours) and Bravo (seven fours) made the most of their good fortune and took the attack to the Indian spinners and were not afraid of taking the aerial route against them.
Barath had looked solid in completing a second consecutive half-century after his 62 in the second innings in Kolkata, but departed when he edged Ashwin onto his pads for Dhoni to complete an easy catch.
Brathwaite, who hit eight fours, was less assured against the spinners and was dropped on 57 by Vangipurappu Laxman off Ashwin at backward short leg.
However, the 18-year-old was dismissed in similar fashion to his fellow opener, clipping an Ashwin delivery off his pads that went straight to Virat Kohli at short leg.
India’s pace bowlers Ishant Sharma and debutant Varun Aaron failed to extract much movement with the new ball, prompting Dhoni to introduce spinner Ojha as early as the ninth over.
Ojha and Ashwin, however, initially proved ineffective against the dogged approach of the openers, who frustrated the Indian attack for more than three-and-a-half hours before the hosts broke through.
The second new ball, which Dhoni took in the 85th over of the day, also failed to bring any success for the pacemen.
West Indies were earlier dealt a blow when key batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul failed to recover from a calf injury and was replaced by Kieran Powell.
Pace bowler Kemar Roach was also ruled out due to a stomach bug, making way for the return of Ravi Rampaul, who missed the second test in Kolkata with an upset stomach.
India brought in right-handed batsman Virat Kohli for Yuvraj Singh, who was dropped after the second Test, while paceman Aaron made his debut in place of Umesh Yadav.