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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Rain mars opening day's play after India's early strikes

Rain mars opening day's play after India's early strikes

Last updated on: July 07, 2011 06:49 IST

Rain played spoilsport, as only 31.1 overs were possible on the opening day of the third and final Test between India and the West Indies in Roseau on Wednesday.

- Scorecard

Sent in to bat, the hosts were 75 for three when the heavens opened up shortly after the lunch break, and it stayed that way till the day's play was finally called off at 4.15 pm local time.

Darren Bravo was batting on 22 while Shivnarine Chanderpaul was unbeaten on 17, the two adding 40 runs for the fourth wicket in 14.2 overs.

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Before that, the Indian seamers had the West Indies in a spot of bother, picking three early wickets.

In-form pacer Ishant Sharma struck twice while Praveen Kumar chipped in with one as the West Indies went to lunch at 64 for three at the Windsor Park.

After Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to bowl with the hope that his seamers would get the team some quick wickets, Ishant and Praveen lived up to the skipper's expectations, removing Adrian Barath and debutants Kieran Powell and Kirk Edwards.

Ishant showed no after-effects of the facial injury he suffered, returning figures of two for 23.

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While Kumar gave the team its first breakthrough, having Powell caught at second slip by VVS Laxman, Ishant, bowling the bouncers to good effect, sent back Barath and Edwards.

Ishant, who rattled the hosts with a 10-wicket haul in the drawn second Test at Kensington Oval, looked in good nick as well.

Munaf Patel, playing in his first Test of the three-match series at the expense of Abhimanyu Mithun, bowled economically, though without success.

If Praveen and Ishant began with maiden overs, Munaf, who returned to Test cricket after two years, did even better as first change, bowling three maidens on the trot.

Earlier Powell, who got his first Test runs -- a three  off a push into covers against Ishant -- didn't get to score any further as Praveen found the edge of his defensive bat with a peach of a delivery.

Barath, after being flustered with a caught behind appeal down the legside by Ishant, edged a pull on to his stumps off the very next delivery.

Ishant picked his third wicket of the morning when he had Edwards, who was unlucky to be judged caught behind by debutant Test umpire Richard Kettleborough of England, as the rising delivery hit his helmet, and not the bat, on the way to Dhoni.

The West Indies will now look to Bravo and veteran Chanderpaul to bail them out.

This is Chanderpaul's 133rd Test match, the highest by any West Indian cricketer. Courtney Walsh, with 132 Tests under his belt, held the previous record.

Bravo looked the best of all the home batsmen and scored two fours -- a square cut against Ishant past point, and then a backfoot cover drive against Harbhajan Singh.

The two collected their runs in a rather secure manner, on a pitch that didn't live up to its reputation of being quick and bouncy.

Bravo struck three fours in his knock and Chanderpaul one before the weather gods intervened.

Ironically, play began in complete contrast, as a bright, sunny day greeted the two sides.

The West Indies began cautiously on a pitch that was fairly damp but did not offer much sideways movement to India's pacers.

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