By Sean Devers in Barbados in association with Carib Beer, Digicel, & Queensway
The West Indies batsmen continue to offer support to their bowlers and at the end of a truncated second day of the second Test at Kensinton Oval yesterday India were in the driver’s seat.
Rain resulted in only 113 minutes in the day’s play being possible and is a major reason why the host will still be batting on day three today on a pitch still offering pace and bounce.
The West Indians were never allowed to bat with any freedom and managed just 68 runs from 25.3 overs during a frustrating day for all involved.
West Indies resumed on 30-3 replying to India’s 201 and after losing both overnight batsmen in the space of four runs in the opening session, had struggled to 98-5 when rain halted the contest for the final time just after Tea.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul (20) and Marlon Samules (21) were in the middle of an intense 41-run sixth wicket stand as they had to battle both technically and mentally against a disciplined seam attack in mostly overcast conditions.
Samules has faced 58 balls and batted for 83 minutes and has reached the boundary three times while Chanderpaul has not yet hit a boundary in his innings which has lasted 61 balls and 91 minutes.
West Indians will hope that Chanderpaul, the team’s most senior and successful batsman can return to form today and get substantial support from Samuels if they hope to avoid their seventh defeat from their nine most recent games at this venue which once used to be the fortress for the Regional team. Morning rain delayed the start of play by 45 minutes – West Indies resuming on 30-3 with Sarwan on 10 and night watchman Davendra Bishoo not yet off the mark. The Guyanese pair had to contend with testing pace bowling from Inshant Sharma and Praveen Kumar on a track with assistance for the quickies.
Sarwan steered Sharma just over slip for a boundary while Bishoo sliced a ball from the lively Sharma between the five slips and gully for four.
On a ground where he made his debut as a teenager 11 years ago and where he scored 291 against England in 2009 in his last Test innings here, Sarwan lacked his usual fluency but seemed determined to battle hard after having a long ‘knock up’ in the nets yesterday morning.
Sharma, bowling with all nine fielders on the off-side, soon had Bishoo (13) caught at gully at 53-4 to bring the 36-year-old Chanderpaul, with a record equaling 132 Tests to his name, to the crease.
Sarwan (19) extended his run without a Test fifty to 17 innings when he was leg before to one that kept low from Sharma and at 57-5 the West Indies top order had again let their team down even though this time, they had the services of Psychologist Dr. Rudi Webster.
Chanderpaul who has scored five of his 22 tons against India was joined by Samuels and they carried the home team to 82-5 by lunch
with resolute batting as the sun returned.
Chanderpaul pushed, blocked and looked a shadow of the left-hander who scored his first Test ton in 1997 against India. But the important thing from a West Indian perspective was that by the interval he was still unbeaten on 12.
The 30-year-old Samuels, back at the international level after a two-year ban for his involvement in spot fixing, took 17 balls and 27 minutes to get off the mark.
He then rocked back to off-spinner Harbajan Singh and enterprisingly cut the final ball before Lunch for four to move to 15 after the Indian seamers had made batting in the first session a laborious task.
In overcast conditions, a small but vocal crowd saw play resume 40 minutes late after Lunch due to rain and Chanderpaul, who has scored three centuries and nine fifties from 14 matches at this venue, was very watchful while Samuels left most of the deliveries bowled to him alone.
A crunching square cut by Samuels off Kumar reached the boundary like a rocket and came ‘out of the blues’ offering some entertainment for West Indian fans on a gloomy but absorbing day of cricket – the batsmen placed a premium on occupation of the crease.
With rain drizzling, Chanderpaul leaned forward and caressed Abhimanyu Mithun through extra cover before another downpour, accompanied by very high winds at the start of the Hurricane season here, halted proceedings after 38 minutes and 8.3 overs of play after Lunch.
An early Tea was taken with West Indies, who have lost six of their last eight Tests at Kensington Oval, on 98-5 with Samuels on 21 and Chanderpaul on 20 and the gritty partnership worth 41 runs.
Play finally resumed at 15:35hrs with angry looking dark clouds hovering ominously over Bridgetown, but before a ball was bowled rain sent the players scurrying off the field. Play is scheduled to commence at 09:30hrs today but more rain is forecast.
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