North Sound (Antigua), Aug 23 (IANS) Ajinkya Rahane hit form with a dogged half century as India rode his unbeaten knock to reach 134/4 after a top order collapse against the West Indies at tea in the rain-interrupted opening Test here on Thursday.
India were reduced to 25/3 with Mayank Agarwal (5), Cheteshwar Pujara (2) and skipper Virat Kohli (9) back in the hut early as new ball bowlers Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel wreaked havoc with searing pace.
K.L. Rahul (44 off 97; 5×4) and Rahane then shared a 68-run stand for the fourth wicket before the former was dismissed caught behind down the leg side off Roston Chase’s bowling post lunch.
As rain curtailed the second session and early tea was taken, Rahane was batting on 50 from 122 balls, his innings laced with seven fours.
Along with Hanuma Vihari, who was batting on 18, the pair stitched together a unbroken 41-run partnership.
Rahane, who hit his 18th fifty after a spell of poor performances, was dropped on 40 by Miguel Cummins off Chase.
Rahane drove Cummins for his 50 off 117 deliveries before the skies opened up.
Earlier, Roach (2/12) bowled a fiery spell to remove Agarwal who was caught behind with replays showing he had nicked the ball even as the umpire gave not out initially.
Pujara, India’s rock at No.3, was undone by another Roach beauty as the ball moved marginally after hitting the deck to take the outside edge of the bat and fly to wicketkeeper Shai Hope.
Kohli hit two boundaries and raced to nine from 12 deliveries before Gabriel set him up with two bouncers to ruffle the ace batsman. In the third ball, Kohli picked out debutant Shamarh Brooks at gully trying to cut another bouncer over point region.
India, playing their first match of the World Test Championship, were in all sorts of trouble when vice-captain Rahane joined Rahul in the middle.
West Indies captain Jason Holder had won the toss and chose to field first after toss was delayed due to a passing shower.
Kohli said they would have batted anyway.
India made no change to the team that played last seven months ago in Australia with R. Ashwin losing out to Ravindra Jadeja in the spin department. Hanuma Vihari was chosen over Rohit Sharma.
Brief scores: India 1st innings (Tea): 134/4 in 47.2 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 50 batting K.L. Rahul 44 (Kemar Roach 2/24) vs West Indies.