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Vihari, Rahane stretch India's advantage



Rahane neared his 10th Test ton

Rahane neared his 10th Test ton © Getty

Genius has many forms. It’s not always of the crazy, rub-your-eyes-and-look-again kind like what Ben Stokes produced at Headingley concurrently as Hanuma Vihari and Ajinkya Rahane stitched an unbeaten century stand an ocean away at Antigua. For India, nothing is more comforting than well-made formula. It is why they’ve held on to their No.1 Test ranking for three years now.

They were already in the driver’s seat when play began on the fourth day, a lead of 260 against a tiring West Indian attack. They lost Virat Kohli in the second over of the day without the captain adding to his overnight score of 51. The second new ball was due in seven overs and the captain’s dismissal early on had left the door sligtly ajar. Rahane and Vihari, however, slammed it shut and took the lead to 362, forcing West Indies to bring out genius of Stokes from hereon to win the game.

Albeit in different conditions involving very different protagonists, India would have had an eye on the proceedings in Leeds given they were the ones setting the target. To that extent that early Kohli dismissal was a spanner in the works. The Indian captain closed his bat face early to a gentle Chase off break and the leading edge ballooned to the cover fielder.

That was the highlight of Chase’s session, who was then put off his length by two batsmen adept at shimmying down the ground. This resulted in many drag down deliveries that Vihari, in particular, used to cut past backward point. Vihari also found his timing early on, playing sumptuous off and on drives off Miguel Cummins to quickly offset the early loss of that Kohli wicket. By eight overs of the morning, when the new ball was taken, India had added 26 runs and the lead inched towards the 300 mark.

Their only real period of bother came predictably against Kemar Roach, whose use of the new ball and the wide off the crease delivery angles, forced a couple of plays and misses. But like Cummins yesterday, Roach limped off the field after a five-over burst. Jason Holder brought himself and Gabriel on but found no ways to stymie the flow of runs. Chase returned to similar inefficacy at the end of the session, by when Vihari had scored his second Test match half-century and Rahane was quickly marching towards a long-awaited 10th Test ton.

Brief scores: India 297 & 287/4 (Ajinkya Rahane 90*, Hanuma Vihari 57*; Roston Chase 3-107) lead West Indies 222 by 362 runs.

© Cricbuzz


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