Centuries from Ashwin and Saha help India to 353, Windies start strongly in reply
After Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhaman Saha hit centuries in the post-lunch session, West Indies bundled out India for 353 in the first innings and were 16 for no loss at tea in the third Test match at the Darren Sammy National Cricket stadium on Wednesday.
Surviving the nervous nineties for too long and after getting stuck at 99 for six overs, Ashwin crossed the 100-mark in style by lofting a Roston Chase ball to six at long off in the 117th over of the innings, taking the score to 323 for 5 wickets.
This is Ashwin’s second Test century in this series after 113 in the first Test at Antigua on July 20 and fourth against the Windies. Three overs later, Saha too hit his maiden Test hundred with two runs of a Chase ball to the cover drive in the 121st over, taking the overall score to 332 for 5.
Incidentally, Saha is the fourth Indian wicket-keeper after Vijay Manjrekar, M.S. Dhoni and Ajay Ratra to hit a Test century in the away from home series.
In the following over (122), Saha nicked the ball from Alzarri Joseph to be caught by stumper Shane Dowrich for 104 in 227 balls with 13 boundaries, which is the highest in this innings.
Ashwin’s sixer is the only one in the Indian innings. His marathon innings ended on a high note of 118 runs in 297 balls with six boundaries.
The centurion duo also set a record 213-run partnership for the sixth wicket against the Windies.
With the star middle order batsmen back in the pavilion, the tail-enders did not last long after Ravindra Jadeja left for 6-run, caught behind by keeper Dowrich of a Cummins’ ball, as Bhuveneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma got out for ducks, while Mohammed Sami remained not out with nil score. India lost its last 5 wickets for a paltry 37 runs
For the hosts, keeper Dowrich took four catches, while ML Cummins and debutant Alzarri Jospeh shared three wickets each, followed by ST Gabriel and Chase two each. Skipper Jason Holder and Kraigg Braithwaite did not any wicket.
With a record double century partnership by Ashwin and Saha, who pulled India out of deep trouble on the first day by defying the Windies attack and taking the score to 339 from 126 for 5 wickets on Tuesday after Jinked Rahane left for 35 runs.
Windies began their chase with openers Brathwaite and Johnson surviving the initial bust of Indian pace attack, which was aided by seam and swing. At the end of play, Windies were on 107 for 1.