West Indies 86 for 1 (Brathwaite 37*, Jadeja 1-12) trail India 438 (Kohli 121, Rohit 80, Jadeja 61, Ashwin 56, Warrican 3-89) by 352 runs
Virat Kohli made his first away Test century in almost five years, and Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin helped themselves to half-centuries, as India piled up 438 in Port-of-Spain. In reply, West Indies started slowly but solidly, with captain Kraigg Brathwaite and Tagenarine Chanderpaul responsible for the hosts’ first half-century partnership in the series. But Jadeja struck 20 minutes before stumps to have Chanderpaul carving a catching to Ashwin. Brathwaite and debutant Kirk McKenzie, who is playing only his tenth first-class game, then safely negotiated a tricky passage of play, with West Indies still 352 runs behind.
Earlier, Kohli looked like converting his hundred into a big one until Alzarri Joseph’s athletic intervention ran him out for 121. Jadeja looked set for a hundred of his own, but Kemar Roach removed him for 61. Both overnight batters fell in a space of six overs, but Ashwin marshalled the tail and took India towards 450.
The Queen’s Park Oval pitch – and the outfield – had slowed down even further on day two but that didn’t prevent Kohli from pinging the boundary with his punchy drives. One of those drives, which was crunched behind point off Shannon Gabriel, brought Kohli his 76th hundred in his 500th international match. Three balls later, Jadeja reached his fifty and celebrated it with his signature sword dance.
Another Kohli drive, this time off Jason Holder in the 92nd over, was among the contenders for the shot of the match. When Holder served up a half-volley on the stumps, Kohli had originally shaped to flick it away through midwicket, but he ended up half-flicking and half-driving it past mid-off with great authority. There was another drive that he drilled so straight that it knocked out the middle stump at the non-striker’s end.
Jadeja was more circumspect, but he combined well with Kohli to steal singles and doubles from right under the noses of the West Indian fielders. However, the 159-run fifth-wicket stand ended when an uncharacteristic moment of hesitation between the wickets resulted in Kohli getting run out. Joseph swooped on the ball from square leg and capitalised on the chance. Soon after, Roach dangled out a wide ball and had Jadeja edging a drive behind.
After Ashwin had bedded in with back-to-back drives off Gabriel, West Indies’ quicks peppered him with short balls. But Ashwin used the bounce to his advantage and created scoring opportunities. When Roach kept banging it short – but not short enough – outside off, Ashwin leant back and ramped him over slip for a pair of fours. He then brought up his fifty with a slapped four off a similar short ball from Roach. With No. 11 Mukesh Kumar for company, Ashwin backed away and tried to rustle up more boundaries, but Roach knocked him over with his slower variation. Roach and Warrican finished with three wickets each before West Indies’ openers settled in.
Chanderpaul, in particular, had to grind for his runs in the early exchanges. He took 58 balls to score his first boundary and move into double figures. When Ashwin erred down the leg side, Chanderpaul put him away with the sweep. He then countered Mohammed Siraj’s bouncers with the hook.
Both Chanderpaul and Brathwaite were happy to leave anything wide of off stump on a track that didn’t offer much assistance to seamers or spinners. Brathwaite had glanced Siraj and whipped Jadeja for fours but wasn’t as assured against Ashwin who got one to drift past his outside edge from over the wicket.
It was Jadeja who produced the breakthrough in the 35th over. After bowling 36 balls on the trot to Brathwaite, Jadeja had a crack at Chanderpaul and with his second ball to the left-hander, he drew a thick edge that looped to backward point. McKenzie announced himself in Test cricket with a six off Ashwin and then caressed Jadeja through extra cover for four to help West Indies end the day in a confident manner.
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo