IND vs WI: Roston Chase holds fort for the visitors with an unbeaten 98
India pacer Umesh admits difficulty in containing lower-order batsmen with SG ball on flat pitches as Chase (98*), Holder (52) take Windies to 295-7 on Day 1
Team India are in a similar situation to what they were during most part of the England Test series. The West Indies' lower-order was a thorn that hurt the hosts on Day One of the second Test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here in Uppal yesterday.
While in England it was Jos Buttler and Sam Curran, who played a major role in England winning the series 4-1, yesterday it was Roston Chase (batting on 98) and skipper Jason Holder (52) who frustrated India as West Indies posted 295-7 at stumps despite being 113-5 at one stage. Pacer Umesh Yadav and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav claimed three wickets each.
Umesh Yadav celebrates the wicket of Holder at Uppal yesterday. Pic/AFP
Chase put on a crucial 69-run stand with Shane Dowrich (30) for the sixth wicket and a 104-run partnership with skipper Jason Holder (52) which helped West Indies back into the contest.
India pacer Umesh Yadav, who bowled 23 overs in the day, was informed about a stat which said 40 per cent of the total runs scored against India this year came from contributions from No. 6 batsmen and below.
Umesh blamed flat pitches for the lower-order woes of the Indian bowlers. "If you are saying that the lower order has scored runs, then you must realise that in India with the SG Test ball, on these kinds of flat tracks, you neither get pace nor bounce. So, the option to use variations ends. All you can do is to bowl on one spot, but then you will realise that nothing is happening even off the pitch. So, when the middle and lower order come in, they know that ball has become soft and it doesn't come at a pace and batting becomes easier," said Umesh after the day's play.
On a flat track that hardly had any assistance to offer, Holder did the right thing by electing to bat. The openers Kraigg Brathwaite (14) and Kieran Powell (22) showed intent to see off the first 10 overs without any casualties. But the way Powell threw his wicket away in the next over — stepping down to R Ashwin and getting a leading edge to give an easy catch to Ravindra Jadeja at cover — was a sign of West Indies' resistance being broken. In quick time they were 113-5 and visions of a Rajkot-like spineless batting show were raised.
Till then, Team India hardly felt the pinch of being one bowler short after debutant Shardul Thakur was back in the pavilion after suffering a groin injury. The West Indies middle and lower order batsmen made India realise that they were indeed missing a bowler.
Umesh felt Thakur's absence made a difference. "I got three wickets and if he could have chipped in with a couple, it would have only helped our team. If he (Shardul) isn't around, I will have to bowl his quota of overs. My thought process was that if the team ask me to bowl, I am ready for that," said Umesh.
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