India bag early wickets before rain ends play early on Day 1

19ishant-wicketRain played spoilsport on the opening day of the fourth and final Test between India and the West Indies as only 22 overs were bowled during which the visitors struck twice before play was called off, in Port of Spain, on Thursday.

India dismissed two West Indies batsmen — Leon Johnson and Dareen Bravo — before rain forced an early lunch break and persistent drizzle ensured there was no further play for the rest of the opening day.

The hosts were 62 for two in 22 overs with Kraigg Brathwaite (32) and Marlon Samuels (4) at the crease.

The intermittent rain ended any chance of resumption of play even as the ground staff also struggled to keep ground play ready. The second day’s play is scheduled to start 30 minutes early on Friday, with a maximum of 98 over to be bowled.

IMAGE: Rain stops play during Day 1 of the fourth and final Test at Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on Thursday. Photograph: WICB Media/Randy Brooks of Brooks Latouche Photography

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami started off proceedings after the hosts elected to bat, as start of play was delayed by 30 minutes because of a wet outfield.

Under overcast conditions, the two pacers got enough purchase with the new ball and squared up both batsmen on more than a couple occasions from both ends. Kumar, in particular, continued from where he left off in the third Test in St. Lucia.

He should claimed an early wicket with the new ball, but skipper Virat Kohli dropped Brathwaite (on 4) in the third over as he was unable to latch on to the low one-handed catch at second slip.

Shami, though, was a touch wayward and it allowed the batsmen to score off him at times. It necessitated bringing Ishant Sharma into the attack, and he struck with his very first delivery.

Johnson could not keep down a short delivery in the 12th over, and lobbed it up for Rohit Sharma to complete an easy catch at short leg.

Spin was introduced in the 13th over then, and in his very second over, R Ashwin (1-22) slipped a beauty past Darren Bravo (10) and knocked back his off-stump.

The experienced Samuels joined Brathwaite at the crease, and the two took the score past the 50-mark before rain came again, just 15 minutes before the scheduled lunch was to be taken.

India lead the four-match series 2-0, after winning the first Test in Antigua by an innings and 92 runs, and the third Test in St. Lucia by 237 runs, while the second Test in Jamaica finished in a draw.

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