Rahane, Jadeja and Ishant lift India to a respectable first innings total.
North Sound (Antigua): Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma frustrated West Indies with a timely 60 run-stand for the eighth wicket as they helped India to 297 at lunch on day two of the first Test here on Friday.
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane had made a crucial 81 on the opening day to help India recover from a poor start.
Jadeja (58 off 112) and Ishant (19 off 62) were able to negotiate the threat posed by the potent pace duo of Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach after losing Rishabh Pant (24) in the second over of the day. Jadeja’s innings comprised six fours and a maximum before he became the last man to be dismissed in the Indian innings, leading to lunch.
India resumed the day at 203 for six with Pant (20) and Jadeja being the overnight batsmen. While Jadeja justified his inclusion in the playing XI ahead of Ravichandran Ashwin with a gritty effort, Pant could not deliver for the team. Roach got his fourth wicket of the innings when he dismissed Pant with a beauty from around the wicket that moved away enough to get the edge of the young wicketkeeper-batsman.
Pant was guilty of playing the ball with hard hands as skipper Jason Holder took a regulation catch at second slip, leaving India at 207 for seven.
It seemed India’s brittle tail will not put up much of a fight yet again, but Jadeja and Ishant batted sensibly in their 116-ball stand, defying the West Indian pacers.
While maturity was expected from Jadeja, Ishant impressed with the way he dealt with the express pace of Roach and Gabriel. He was not afraid to come on to the front foot and was equally comfortable at tackling the rising ball.
The lanky India pacer, whose highest score is 31, was finally dismissed in the 90th over, playing on to a full slower ball off Gabriel.
Mohammad Shami joined Jadeja in the middle but his stay lasted only one ball as he offered a return catch to off-spinner Roston Chase. Running out of partners, Jadeja showed urgency to collect some vital runs and brought up his 11th half-century with a slap to cover for four.
The following ball, he swept Chase for a six over deep midwicket, giving the Indian innings a welcome flourish towards the end. Rahane silenced his critics with a much-
needed 81 on a pacer-friendly track even as the likes of skipper Virat Kohli, Chesteshwar Pujara and Mayank Agarwal found the going tough on the pacer-friendly wicket on Thursday.
Only 68.5 overs of play was possible as inclement weather led to multiple interruptions on the first day of the match, a part of the World Championship.