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Test in balance as Ashwin bags six wickets

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bagged six wickets in one innings on his Test debut as the opening Test between India and the West Indies was keenly poised on the third day on Tuesday.

The Indian spinner finished with 6-47 as the West Indies were bowled out for 180 in their second innings in the afternoon session to set the hosts a 276-run target to win the match on a low, slow track.

India were 38 for no loss at tea, with Virender Sehwag unbeaten on 20 and Gautam Gambhir on 17 not out. Sehwag was lucky to survive on 12 when paceman Ravi Rampaul failed to hold on to a return catch.

The West Indies were reeling at 84-7 before managing to set a challenging target as they added 96 runs for their last three wickets, thanks to veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul (47) and skipper Darren Sammy (42).

Left-handed Chanderpaul, who cracked an impressive century in the first innings, and Sammy both counter-attacked to add 40 useful runs for the eighth wicket before falling to Ashwin in the space of six overs.

Chanderpaul was trapped leg-before after hitting seven fours in his 58-ball knock while Sammy was bowled off a delivery that kept low.

Sammy played some attractive shots during his 37-ball knock, once smashing fast bowler Ishant Sharma for a straight six.

The Indian bowlers called the shots in the morning session when they captured five wickets for 88 runs after the West Indies had resumed at 21-2, with Ashwin and debutante seamer Umesh Yadav doing the maximum damage.

Ashwin, who took three wickets in the first innings, trapped Darren Bravo leg-before for 12 runs and then bowled Marlon Samuels for no score in the same over to reduce the West Indies to 63-6.

Sharma was the first to strike when he had nightwatchman Fidel Edwards (one) caught behind before Yadav dismissed Kirk Edwards (33) and wicket-keeper Carlton Baugh (seven).

Kirk Edwards was bowled shouldering arms after adding 18 runs to his overnight score of 15 while Baugh was caught behind.

The tourists had gained a 95-run lead when they bowled India out for 209 in their first innings on Monday after posting 304.

The remaining two Tests will be played in Kolkata and Mumbai.

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