Lunch India 367 (Pant 92, Rahane 80, Shaw 70, Holder 5-56) lead West Indies 311 for 56 races
Ajit Agarkar explains how the West Indies recovered in the second session
The talismanic leader of the West Indies Jason Holder brought back to life an incipient unit by restricting India's advantage to 56 with the fifth round of five years of his career in Test. They were the first five for a fast India West Indian since 1994. India started the day just three races back, with six windows in hand and two approaching overnight hitters. What they had to face was an extremely disciplined and committed performance with the new ball taken early in the morning. Holder finally found support from Shannon Gabriel and, therefore, the West Indies granted only 59 of the 25.4 passes on the third morning and took six windows.
In the first Indian release in eight years to produce two five for-fors for fast bowlers, India's second fastest Shardul Thakur only managed to throw 10 balls in the first innings before re-injuring the groin. However, he made a great contribution by going out to bat, risking serious damage to the groin, limping to run and adding 28 crucial runs with R Ashwin to the last field. Ashwin was the last to leave, his 35 got India to gain an advantage that could still be decisive.
Despite his height, Holder managed to keep attacking the stumps. Fifty-two percent of their deliveries ended in line with the stumps. If it had been less accurate, Ajinkya Rahane probably would not have played in the first Holder ball the second of the morning. This gave him a kick after throwing, and took the shoulder of the bat to catch Gully. Rahane last marked a century last August. Two balls later, Holder caught Ravindra Jadeja in the front, with a belated movement and just enough to return from the window. Similarly, Ashwin survived a similar scream: both balls moved back and would have shaved the stump of the leg. Jadeja was delivered, Ashwin did not. None of the decisions could be revoked in revision.
At the other extreme, Gabriel splashed Rishabh Pant with short balls, and finally threw his bat at one. It was neither cut nor blow, and Shimron Hetmeyer caught him brilliantly under cover, jumping to his right. This was the second successive Pant score of 92. Kuldeep Yadav became Holder's fifth victim. He returned, but not as much as Kuldeep expected, and reached the top, the greatest virtue of Holder's bowling.
Umesh Yadav left Ashwin disappointed when he left cutting the left arm spinner Jomel Warrican. In Tahkur, Ashwin found support, though not always intelligent. At one point, Thakur pulled a single from the last ball of an envelope, and Ashwin did not even reject it. At one point, Thakur forgot to run when Ashwin tried to organize the strike with one of the last ball of a ball. This association was not expected to flourish much because Ashwin is not known as a great hitter, and none of the hitters at this time was a runner fast enough to be able to manipulate the strike. However, Ashwin played with patience, invested confidence in Thakur and managed to reach four limits. Finally Gabriel burst through his defense. The previous ball had kicked him and Ashwin's feet did not move enough against the wicket ball to cover the movement.
The West Indies had given themselves a great opportunity to put India under pressure, and now it was their failure. Batters in the third innings.