KOLKATA (TIP): West Indies finally dismissed India but not before Rohit Sharma and R Ashwin stretched the lead past 200 on the third morning. Their seventh-wicket partnership of 280 was the highest for their country, and the third biggest ever. Shane Shillingford claimed six wickets for his labours over 55 overs, his five-for coming when he bowled Ashwin for 124. The overnight pair of Rohit and Ashwin was in absolute control against a flat West Indies attack, having already added 82 runs in 21 overs. Rohit looked on course to become the sixth man to make a doublecentury on Test debut, but was halted by umpire Richard Kettleborough, who gave him out padding up to Veerasammy Permaul’s first delivery of the day. Replays suggested the ball would have missed off stump.
West Indies had gone almost 82 overs without a wicket. They now got four in less than seven. Two balls after having Ashwin dropped by wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, Shillingford did it all by himself, when the batsman missed a big sweep. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami fell soon to the spinners, and an early lunch was taken at Eden Gardens. West Indies won’t mind the breather at all, having already spent 102 overs on the field before the day began. They seemed set to stand under the sun into the second session the way Rohit and Ashwin were going. Ashwin squeezed Tino Best’s first ball over point for four, and reached his second Test century in the fourth over of the day. Rohit carried on smoothly from last evening, punishing width with several boundaries off the back foot. Again, both batsmen were sure in defence, trusting their crease and getting forward only when the ball was quite full.
There was reverse swing even with a 16- overs old ball, but Best wasn’t able to control it, spraying deliveries down the leg side. Darren Sammy continued to overbowl Shillingford, who got many deliveries to rear up. Not that his second spinner Permaul had earned the captain’s confidence, but he was brought on well into the second hour. Sammy finally gave Marlon Samuels a bowl before Permaul, but even that came after 115 overs were up. Samuels immediately produced uneven bounce, getting some to shoot through at shin height while some reared up. He will now have to produce another spirited batting effort if West Indies are to set India a reasonably challenging target.