Saturday, 4 December 2021

Rahane leads India recovery after good start by Windies

(AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

NORTH SOUND: India recovered from 25-3 to reach 203-6 against the West Indies when rain ended play prematurely on the first day of the first Test.

Ajinkya Rahane, who came in at three down, led the middle order’s fightback with 81, his best score since the home series win in October against the West Indies. Rahane featured in the two best partnerships of 68 with opener KL Rahul (44), and 82 with Hanuma Vihari (32).

The scoring was slow in the face of a four-man pace attack which bowled 18 maidens in ideal conditions. Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Jason Holder were paid respect, while Miguel Cummins was a little wasteful in his first test in more than a year. Holder won the toss and elected to field first. India counterpart Virat Kohli liked the decision, but not the result.

After a delayed start of 70 minutes, Roach took out Mayank Agarwal on 5 and Chesteshwar Pujara on 2 in the same fifth over, both coming forward only to edge behind. Kohli lasted only 12 balls, out for 9 when he tried to cut Gabriel but was too fine and gave 30-year-old debutant Shamarh Brooks a diving catch at gully.

Rahane came in, and his second run ended a streak of four maidens for Holder. Holder bowled nine maidens in his 15 overs. While Rahane was blocking, Rahul was taking a pounding. He was hit on the right elbow by Roach, and in the groin by Gabriel. Rahul was out after lunch for 44 off 97 balls, nicking offspinner Roston Chase behind on the leg side. Rahane and Vihari led India to tea, taken early because of a shower. Vihari was fifth man out, and Shai Hope’s fourth catch, when he edged behind trying to defend against Roach on 32. Roach finished the day on 3-34 with six maidens in his 17 overs.

Rahane appeared untouchable until the 60th over, when he chopped on onto his leg stump, giving Gabriel a second wicket. Rahane made 81 off 163 balls, hitting 10 boundaries. Rishabh Pant, on 20, and Ravindra Jadeja, on 3, were in the middle when it started raining again in the 69th and ultimately last over of the day.

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