Kingston (Jamaica), Aug 31 (IANS) Consolidating fifties from skipper Virat Kohli and Mayank Agarwal put India in a strong position on the opening day of the second and final Test against the West Indies being played at the historic Sabina Park.
Searching the record-breaking victory which will make him the most successful India Test captain, Kohli led from the front and played a well-rounded knock of 76 on Friday.
Kohli’s 163-ball knock was studded with 10 fours and his dismissal in the last session by his counterpart Jason Holder did appear to open the gate for the hosts.
However, Hanuma Vihari and wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant did not let the West Indies take the advantage and played out the session.
At Stumps on Day One, India were 264/5 with Vihari and Pant batting at 42 and 27 respectively.
Put into bat, India lost opener K.L. Rahul (13) early as Holder bowled a peach of a delivery to have him caught by Cornwall at first slip. It was a wicket-maiden and the all-rounder followed it up with a brilliant opening spell, bowling a tight off-stump line and causing Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara all sorts of trouble.
Offspinning all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall, making his debut, did not take much time to bag his first Test wicket. Pujara (6), who did not get many runs in the first Test, cut a short of a length delivery straight to Shamarh Brooks at point.
However, from there on, Agarwal (55 off 127 balls; 7×4) and Kohli steadied the Indian ship and stitched together a 69-run partnership for the third wicket.
Agarwal had to grind for his runs as he hit five boundaries in his 99-ball knock. Kohli too took time to settle down as the pitch assisted the fast bowlers with some swing on offer while also helping Cornwall get some turn off the surface.
The Indian opener became the second scalp of Holder who got him caught at first slip.
First Test hero Ajinkya Rahane, however, failed to replicate his performance and could manage only 24 runs before he became Kemar Roach’s first victim.
Kohli then added 38 runs alongside Vihari before he was caught behind off the bowling of Holder.
At 202 for 5, No. 7 Pant joined Vihari, and he soon took on Roston Chase for the day’s first six over long-on. Vihari was not afraid to play his shots either as he kept on piling the runs and made sure the Men in Blue did not get caught up at the crease.
For the hosts, though, India’s unbeaten stand of 62 stands in their way of taking the upper hand in a must-win Test match and draw the series.
Brief scores: India 264/5 at stumps on Day 1 (Virat Kohli 76, Mayank Agarwal 55; Jason Holder 3/39, Kemar Roach 1/47) vs West Indies