An unbroken century stand between Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane put India in a dominant position at 185 for three in their second innings, an overall lead of 260 runs, at stumps on the third day of the first Test against the West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Saturday.
Having dismissed the home side for 222 in the morning period to take a lead of 75, captain Kohli and vice-captain Rahane defied the best efforts of their persevering opponents on an energy-sapping afternoon in putting on 104 for the fourth wicket.
Rahane, who top-scored with 81 in his team’s first innings total of 297, will resume on the fourth morning on 53 alongside Kohli on 51, the Indian captain displaying exaggerated care through his innings which featured just two boundaries against a disciplined but luckless attack.
Kemar Roach was the most unfortunate of the West Indies bowlers as Rahane was dropped at extra-cover early in his innings and then, within sight of 50, captain Jason Holder declined to review a not out verdict to an lbw appeal against the same batsman when television replays showed the decision would have been overturned in the Caribbean side’s favour.
Rahane had joined Kohli at 81 for three after Roach produced a superb delivery to breach the defence of Cheteshwar Pujara.
Pujara started brightly in getting to 25 but the pacer claimed him for the second time in the match.
Whereas in the first innings he edged to the wicketkeeper, this time he was bowled between bat and pad to give the fast bowler his fifth wicket of the match.
Roston Chase’s off-spin had earlier accounted for both openers with Mayank Agarwal adjudged leg-before attempting to sweep while K.L. Rahul was bowled round his legs trying a similar shot.
India had spent most of the morning session labouring to claim the final two wickets of the home side’s first innings as Holder found sturdy support from Miguel Cummins in putting on 41 for the ninth wicket.
Having slipped from 174 for five to 179 for eight late on day two courtesy of the persistent Ishant Sharma, Kohli and company would have been expecting to finish the job swiftly at the start of play.
However they did not count on the defiance of Cummins, who hung around with Holder for an hour-and-a-half without getting off the mark.
When the partnership was finally broken -– Holder caught behind off Mohammed Shami for 39 -– Cummins saw last man Shannon Gabriel pick up two singles immediately.
Attempting to get his first runs though, the fast-medium bowler, who bats left-handed, was bowled having a swing at Ravindra Jadeja to give the left-arm spinner his second wicket of the innings.
In facing 45 deliveries for his defiant duck, and spending 95 minutes in the middle without getting off the mark, Cummins goes into the record books for the second longest innings in Test cricket for someone being dismissed without scoring.
That dubious record is still held by New Zealander Geoff Allott, who survived for 101 minutes before falling for nought against South Africa in Auckland in 1999.