A career-best 6 for 88 from Umesh Yadav followed by sparkling fifties by Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant helped India gain the ascendancy on Day 2 of the second Test against the Windies in Hyderabad.
Having bowled out the visitors for 311, the Indians came out all guns blazing with Shaw smacking a belligerent 53-ball 70 before Rahane and Pant ended the day with an unbroken 146-run stand. By the time stumps were called for, India had reached 308 for 4 in 81 overs trailing the Windies by just 3 runs. Pant was unbeaten on 85 while Rahane had 75 runs to his name.
Resuming on 297 for 7, the visitors lost Devendra Bishoo in the first over of the day inside-edging a harmless fuller length delivery off Umesh back on to his stumps for 2. Chase, unbeaten on 98 overnight then soon reached his three-figure mark with a gentle tuck to mid-wicket off Kuldeep Yadav. His fourth Test century, and first away from home, truly proving why he is often considered the fulcrum of the Windies middle-order.
Umesh wrapped up the innings rather quickly though, first castling Chase with a peach of an in-dipper breaching his defences for 106 before snapping up Shannon Gabriel the very next ball to complete a six-wicket haul. In the process, he became the first Indian bowler to register a six-for at home since 1999. Windies’ innings lasted a total of 101.4 overs, a massive improvement after their capitulation in the first Test.
Shaw, oozing with confidence after a debut century, did not take much time in settling in. He opened his account with a four down to third man before smashing Shannon Gabriel for a maximum the very next ball. The 18-year-old carried on from his first Test antics smashing both new ball bowlers, Jason Holder and Gabriel to all corners of the park with confident drives and cuts as India raced to the 50-run mark in just 7.1 overs.
While Shaw was making merry carting the Windies bowlers all around, KL Rahul at the other end failed to get going. Having not had the best of times in recent months, he failed to latch onto yet another opportunity inside-edging Holder onto his stumps, contributing just 4 runs in the 61-run opening stand.
Shaw got a life on 45 when Shai Hope dropped a tough chance at slips before registering his half-century with a punch down to long on. He took just 39 balls to reach the landmark as India moved to lunch on 80 for 1 after 16 overs.
The session after the interval turned out to be an excellent one for the visitors. Left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican first got rid of Shaw who drove one straight into the hands of cover to walk back for an entertaining 70, his innings studded with 11 fours and one six. Cheteshwar Pujara too couldn’t last much longer as he fell to Gabriel caught fishing outside the off stump for 10.
Rahane and Virat Kohli then got together and took the innings forward with a solid 60-run stand. Both batsmen looked increasingly confident in their stroke play, with Kohli, in particular, finding the boundaries quite consistently. Just when it seemed another half-century was in the offing for the Indian captain, Holder struck trapping his opposite number on the crease. Kohli opted for the review but to no avail, his innings ending on 45 as India went into tea on 173 for 4 after 47 overs.
Pant, coming into bat at No.6 had a reprieve on 24 soon after the interval when the substitute wicket-keeper Jahmar Hamilton dropped a fairly regulation chance and the left-hander made sure he made most of it. With Rahane looking astute, Pant found his timing soon and the duo went about reducing the deficit.
Pant got going with consecutive fours off Bishoo while Rahane went about collecting his runs relying more on singles and doubles with the odd boundary in the mix as well. Both batsmen soon reached their individual fifties in the 64th over to get closer to the Windies total.
The first hour in the morning on Sunday will be key for both sides. While Windies will want to strike early with the new ball just an over old, both Rahane and Pant will want to wipe out the deficit fairly soon and start building on a lead.