Ind v/s W Indies: Tropical storm allowed just 15.5 overs fourth day

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Tropical storm Earl allowed just 15.5 overs on the fourth day but that was adequate for India to trample the West Indies top order, leaving them just six wickets to go 2-0 up in this series. Given how West Indies folded without giving any fight, India should not take more than two sessions to wrap up the Test. And that’s still a conservative estimate. Overnight rain delayed start of the day by almost 75 minutes but in the three overs that were allowed before it returned, Ishant Sharma got India their first breakthrough when he dislodged Rajendra Chandrika’s bails. Chandrika might bring back memories of Shivnarine Chanderpaul with the way he uses a bail to mark his guard but his defence is nowhere as compact as the legend. Sharma kept the ball outside off and just short of length. Watching the ball move in, Chandrika raised his arms to leave it but turned out to be too slow for Sharma’s pace. There was extra bounce too, making the ball spit out of its landing and take a ricochet off his right elbow before crashing into his stumps. Any momentum that India would have got from the dismissal was negated by another wave of rain. But West Indies weren’t putting a strong front either. Twice forced to run off the ground because of the rain, West Indies looked tentative against the pace of Sharma and Mohammed Shami. Still, a partnership seemed to brew between Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo as they put 36 for the second wicket till Brathwaite found an undeserving delivery to get out to. Amit Mishra pitched the ball wide and short and it either had to be left alone or smacked through off. Brathwaite however tried to move across the stumps and pull it, only getting a top-edge in the process. Bravo reached the 20-run mark for the first time in this series but it was a painful knock for him, repeatedly being pushed back by both Sharma and Shami and forced to take his eyes off the ball. Local boy Marlon Samuels though was quicker to come and go. Shami, who looks unplayable with every passing day, produced a delivery that was just short of length and had to be played by Samuels. The Jamaican however played inside the line of the ball and watched it take the top of his off-stump. Bravo was finally relieved of his misery by another short ball — the third time this series — after an innings he won’t want to relive. Shami aimed this one at his head and Bravo, like all morning, quickly turned his head and held up his gloves in defence. The edge flew to KL Rahul at third slip and India went to lunch confident of almost sealing the win. The rain however came in relentless waves to spoil any chance of a post-lunch or even a post-tea session. Sitting almost on top of the stadium, the press box had a bird’s view of the entire Kingston port coastline just beyond the George Headley Stand. Every 10 minutes or so, a burst of rain was seen approaching from the south-east direction. Sporadic but heavy rain meant the groundsmen had a tiring day pulling in the covers and then lugging them back to the sidelines. With their defensive bowling in the last two days and some help from the rain, West Indies managed to take this Test to the fifth day. But as it turned out, they were only delaying the inevitable.

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