Pant, Ra­hane give In­dia con­trol in sec­ond Test

Gulf Times Sport - - FRONT PAGE -

Ajinkya Ra­hane and Rishabh Pant hit con­trast­ing half-cen­turies to put In­dia on course for a size­able first in­nings lead against the West Indies in the sec­ond Test yes­ter­day.

The hosts were 308 for four at stumps, trail­ing the West Indies by three runs af­ter Ra­hane, 75, and Pant, 85, put to­gether an un­beaten 146-run fifth-wicket stand in Hy­der­abad.

Pace­man Umesh Ya­dav also played a part in In­dia’s dom­i­nance with ca­reer-best fig­ures of 6-88 that helped bowl out the West Indies for 311 early in the morn­ing ses­sion.

In re­ply, In­dia were in trou­ble at 162-4 with West Indies skip­per Ja­son Holder tak­ing two wick­ets, in­clud­ing his coun­ter­part Vi­rat Kohli’s prized scalp in the af­ter­noon ses­sion.

But the right-left bat­ting com­bi­na­tion of Ra­hane and Pant then en­sured a wick­et­less fi­nal ses­sion.

Ra­hane played a cau­tious knock to regis­ter his 15th Test fifty while Pant was his swash­buck­ling self, hit­ting 10 fours and two big sixes in 120 balls.

It was Pant’s sec­ond suc­ces­sive 50-plus score af­ter his 92 in In­dia’s first Test vic­tory at Ra­jkot.

“We have two set bats­men... Very heart­en­ing to see the way Rishabh and Ajinkya have ap­proached the in­nings be­cause both have been pa­tient and very dis­ci­plined,” In­dia’s bat­ting coach San­jay Bangar told re­porters. “Ideally if we can bat an­other two ses­sions we will be in a great po­si­tion.”

Teenage opener Prithvi Shaw also smashed 70 off 53 balls as In­dia mounted a strong re­ply, only to lose to their way af­ter lunch.

Shaw fell to left-arm spin­ner Jomel War­ri­can af­ter hit­ting 11 fours and a six and Pu­jara went for 10 in the very next over off pace­man Shan­non Gabriel.

Kohli tried to steady the in­nings with some flu­ent stroke­play as he built a 60-run part­ner­ship with Ra­hane but was de­nied what could have been his 20th Test fifty.

Holder, who scored 52 in the first in­nings, trapped Kohli lbw for 45. He also bowled opener Lokesh Rahul for four in the morn­ing ses­sion.

The West Indies were hit by in­jury to wick­et­keeper Shane Dowrich early in the In­dian in­nings, and were forced to re­place him with sub­sti­tute Jah­mar Hamil­ton be­hind the stumps.

Hamil­ton was far from con­vinc­ing and apart from a few misses down the leg side he dropped Pant on 24 off Gabriel.

Ear­lier, Ya­dav — who lost his pace part­ner in debu­tant Shardul Thakur due to a groin strain on day one — picked all the three West In­dian wick­ets in the morn­ing af­ter the tourists started on 295-7.

Ros­ton Chase top-scored with 106, his fourth Test ton. He was even­tu­ally bowled by Ya­dav.

“Umesh got the bet­ter of me to­day but I am still pleased with the cen­tury. It is my first cen­tury away from home, so it is a spe­cial one for me,” said Chase.

Ya­dav also got Gabriel on the next ball to be­come the first In­dian pace­man to get six wick­ets on home soil since Jav­a­gal Sri­nath’s 6-45 against New Zealand at Mo­hali in 1999.

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