India finish with 438 after Ashwin fifty

R Ashwin’s brisk 56 followed a 159-run association between Virat Kohli (121) and Ravindra Jadeja (61) as India posted a sizeable total of 438 on Day 2 of the second Test in Port of Spain. It was slightly slow going for India for a large part of the second session on Friday (July 21), with Ashwin having to bat with the lower order for the majority of the period, but he managed to come up with an important contribution and score some quick runs towards the end of the session as he ensured India crossed the 400 mark. But West Indies did not allow the tail to wag too long, taking the last four wickets for 45 runs.

Ashwin creamed an off drive and guided one past point off Shannon Gabriel for two boundaries early in the second session. Ishan Kishan, meanwhile, had a lucky break as a pull shot off Jason Holder burst through debutant Kirk McKenzie’s hands for a four. Kishan, though, could not capitalise on the reprieve as he fell the very next ball, edging to the ‘keeper. Ashwin then used the DRS to reverse a leg-before decision in Jomel Warrican’s over, and used his feet to the spinner to get runs as he helped India past 400. West Indies, on the other hand, lost a review when they went upstairs for a caught-behind decision against Ashwin.

Alzarri Joseph tried some short-ball tactics at Ashwin and Jaydev Unadkat but they were up to the task, despite the latter being struck on his arm by a delivery, as they built a steady partnership. But their association was ended by Warrican when Unadkat was stumped after missing a slog sweep. Ashwin guided a Roach delivery over slip for his fifth boundary as he entered the 40s. But Mohammed Siraj was dismissed at the other end, leg-before to Warrican, with West Indies using the review successfully this time. But India chose to review the decision with the ball seemingly hitting Siraj’s front pad first which could have resulted in the decision being overturned but the original decision on impact was upheld for the second time. This was the second instance of DRS being under the spotlight after the broadcasters showed different footage of Jadeja’s caught behind review when the decision was initially made, with bat seemingly close to pad, and then changing it during the Tea break with the commentator Darren Ganga quoting that the right decision was made eventually.

With debutant and No.11 Mukesh Kumar for company, Ashwin struck a flurry of boundaries off Roach before being the last to be dismissed.

Earlier, playing in his 500th international game, and the 100th Test between West Indies and India, Kohli ended the wait for his first away Test hundred since December 2018 as his 29th Test century put India in a position of strength. Kohli equalled Sir Don Bradman’s tally of Test hundreds early on Day 2 and was involved in a big partnership with Jadeja to power India’s progress. Although West Indies dismissed the set batters during the session, the advantage was with India thanks to the Kohli and Jadeja who led India’s revival after they had slipped to 182/4 on Day 1.

West Indies opted for the second new ball right at the start of Day 2 but Kohli and Jadeja were untroubled as they both reached their personal milestones and extended their partnership past 150, with boundaries coming regularly. But the stand came to an end when Kohli found himself short at the non-striker’s end as a direct hit from Joseph ended his 206-ball stay. Kishan came out with a positive mindset, taking on Warrican to score a couple of boundaries. But Jadeja’s innings also came to an end in the opening session as he went for an expansive drive only to edge the Roach delivery to the ‘keeper, with West Indies using the DRS to send him back. Despite the wickets, India had a productive session as they managed 85 runs at a run rate of over 3.5.

Brief scores: India 438 (Virat Kohli 121, Rohit Sharma 80, Ravindra Jadeja 61, Yashasvi Jaiswal 57, R Ashwin 56; Jomel Warrican 3-89, Kemar Roach 3-104) vs West Indies.

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