Kingston - Lokesh Rahul's Test-best 158
anchored India's formidable reply to the West Indies first innings total of 196
as the hosts reached 358 for five at stumps on the second day of the second
Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Sunday.
Leading 1-0 in the four-match series, the
tourists enjoy a lead of 162 runs with five wickets in hand.
Making the most of a recall to the team as
replacement for the injured Murali Vijay, Rahul interspersed moments of rare
aggression with long periods of watchful defiance over his near seven-hour
occupation of the crease in compiling his third hundred in just six Tests.
Resuming on the second morning on 75 in
partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara, he hoisted part-time off spinner Roston
Chase for the first six of the innings over long-on to reach three figures
after 90 minutes' play. There were two more sixes in the mid-afternoon session
to embellish an innings that spanned 303 deliveries and also included 15 fours.
"It was hard to get runs today and it
was also really, really hot," said Rahul reflecting on his first Test
innings in a year. "I was really enjoying my batting even though they were
bowling a lot better today."
He put on 121 for the second wicket with
Pujara, who was run out for 46 after lunch by Chase's direct throw to the
stumps at the non-striker's end. That was the only success for a limited West
Indies attack through the first two sessions of the day as they struggled to
offer any consistent threat to batsmen well equipped technically and
temperamentally for the requirements of the day, especially after India had
taken such a firm grip on the match by the end of day one.
Virat Kohli, in top form following a
career-best 200 in the first Test triumph in Antigua a week earlier, seemed in
the mood to deepen the home side's dilemma. He helped Rahul add 69 runs for the
third wicket going into the final session of the day when the opener's innings
ended in somewhat controversial circumstances as lengthy deliberation involving
the television umpire was needed before he was ruled caught by wicketkeeper
Shane Dowrich down the leg-side off fast bowler Shannon Gabriel.
Chase snared his second wicket, the prized
scalp of Kohli, when the Indian captain fell to a sharp catch by Rajendra
Chandrika at short-leg for 44 and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo earned an LBW
verdict against Ravichandran Ashwin. At that stage, India had lost three
wickets for 50 runs at 327 for five, a veritable collapse in the context of
their virtual impregnability through the first six hours of the innings.
"I'm a batsman more than a bowler but
I'm looking at developing my all-round game," said Chase at the end of the
day when he again featured prominently with his off-spin. "The selectors
spoke to me about it and advised that I shouldn't be a one-track player so I'm
working on my bowling especially."
Notwithstanding the mid-innings wobble,
India remain firmly in control with Ajinkya Rahane and wicketkeeper-batsman
Wriddhiman Saha unbeaten at the close and together with the rest of the batting
will be seeking to play the West Indies completely out of the match on the