India rode on a defiant 146-run fifth wicket stand between half-centurions Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant to reach 308/4 and more importantly cut down the deficit to just 3 runs at stumps on Day 2 of the second cricket Test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Saturday.
At close of play, both Pant (85 not out) and Rahane (75 not out) closed in on their respective centuries even as the West Indian bowlers failed to keep the momentum of the second session, where they managed to take three key wickets of Prithvi Shaw (70), Cheteshwar Pujara (10) and skipper Virat Kohli (45).
Resuming the final session at 173/4, Rahane and Pant mixed caution with calculative aggression to steady the ship after the hoax middle-session scare.
The right-left duo managed to see off the initial period before Pant broke the shackles with a few lusty blows to nearly outscore Rahane, en-route his second Test fifty.
Pant, the wicketkeeper-batsman was specially harsh on left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican, whom he clobbered for two consecutive sixes.
Rahane also brought up his 15th half century with a poke outside off in the same over from leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo.
Earlier, after pacer Umesh Yadav ran through the West Indian lower order, to return figures of 6/88 in the first hour of play, teenaged opener Shaw gave India a flying start in the company of an off-colour Lokesh Rahul (4), with the first wicket stand yielding 61 runs.
With the hosts comfortably placed at 80/1 by lunch, Shaw departed after forging a 37-run second wicket stand with Pujara before the latter departed seven balls later.
Shaw, whose attractive 53-ball knock was laced with 11 boundaries and a six, succumbed to an easy catch to Shimron Hetmyer at extra cover off Warrican.
With the addition of just four runs to India’s score, pacer Shannon Gabriel dealt the hosts another blow with the dismissal of Cheteshwar Pujara.
Thereafter, Kohli and Rahane stabilised the innings with a valuable 60-run third wicket stand before the India captain was trapped in front by his opposite number Jason Holder, who bowled an extended spell before heading to the tea interval.
Brief Scores: West Indies 311 (Roston Chase 106, Jason Holder 52, Shai Hope 36; Umesh Yadav 6/88, Kuldeep Yadav 3/85) vs India 173/4 (Rishabh Pant 85 not out, Ajinkya Rahane 75 not out, Prithvi Shaw 70; Jason Holder 2/45).
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