India hold slender lead

2011-07-01 07:01
Ishant Sharma (Gallo)

Bridgetown - India's Ishant Sharma mopped up the West Indies tail to capture his 100th Test wicket before the fickle weather threatened the chances of a result after a rain-interrupted third day of the second test on Thursday.

Sharma bowled superbly on a lively Kensington Oval pitch that suited the quicks to finish with career-best figures of six for 55, including the last two wickets in successive balls to remain on a hat-trick, and reach the 100 wicket milestone in just his 33rd Test appearance.

The lanky paceman polished off the last three wickets to restrict West Indies to 190 and give India a narrow first innings lead of 11 runs before the foul Caribbean weather brought play to an early halt.

"We don't care about what's going to happen (with the weather) the next two days because that's uncontrollable," Sharma told a news conference.

"So all we're going to do is just go out there and score as many runs and take as many wickets as we can."

The visitors, who have never won a Test in Barbados, extended their advantage to 34 runs by the close after reaching 23 without loss in their second innings.

Abhinav Mukund was unbeaten on eight with Murali Vijay on three after their innings was delayed first by a tropical storm, then bad light as the umpires called an early end to proceedings.

West Indies' Marlon Samuels, who replaced sacked vice-captain Brendan Nash and is playing just his second Test since serving a two-year ban for giving information to bookmakers - a charge he has always denied - repaid the selectors' faith by scoring an unbeaten 78, only to run out of partners.

"The first match I played in two years I got 55 then I got left out (of the next match) in Jamaica," Samuels said.

"It made a hotter fire inside of me. Now, I've got this opportunity, I want to take it with both hands."

Samuels shared a vital sixth wicket stand of 77 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, dismissed for 37 in the penultimate over of the morning session, after the home side slumped to 57-5 and were in danger of falling well short of the tourists' total.

Most of the second day had been washed out by torrential rain and Thursday's scheduled start was delayed because of morning showers that passed over but returned several times during the day.

The pitch, which caused the visiting batsmen problems on the opening day with its extra pace and bounce, was less hostile but still gave plenty of encouragement to the bowlers while offering the batsmen the chance to score runs if they remained patient.

Resuming on 98-5, Samuels and Chanderpaul took a cautious approach, eliminating any risky shots as they looked for a first innings lead after West Indies lost a tight first Test in Jamaica.

They reached their 50 partnership off a painstakingly slow 136 balls but were looking more and more comfortable at the crease when Chanderpaul suddenly dragged a short-pitched ball from Abhimanyu Mithun back on to his stumps with the total on 134.

West Indies went to lunch on 138-6 but lost their remaining four wickets before tea with captain Darren Sammy (15) and Ravi Rampaul and Fidel Edwards (both no score) all falling to Sharma.

"It's difficult to say what the weather will do, it's very unpredictable," Samuels said.

"We did very well to bowl them out for 200, we didn't pass their total and they've got a lead of 30 something now, but I guess it's game on now because it's a low scoring game."

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