Lokesh Rahul’s determined knock of 158 took India to 358 for five in reply to West Indies’ first innings total of 196 on the second day of the second Test at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Sunday.
India, who won the opening Test match in Antigua by an innings and 92 runs, were ahead by 162 runs with five wickets in hand.
Rahul (158) was finally dismissed in controversial fashion, given out caught by wicket-keeper Shane Dowrich down the leg side off fast bowler Shannon Gabriel. By then, India had reached 277, 81 ahead.
Unlike Saturday, when Rahul played several shots, the Bangalore batsman was content to wait for opportunities. He was cautious in the first session, even though he reached his century with a six.
Cramping with his effort in the humid conditions a couple of times, Rahul bravely decided to play on. His innings lasted 303 balls in which he hit 15 eye-pleasing boundaries and three sixes.
Seemingly well entrenched and with an eye to emulating Rahul’s marathon effort, Pujara got to 46 off 159 deliveries when he was run out at the non-striker’s end by Roston Chase’s direct hit from squareleg midway through the afternoon.
His second-wicket partnership with the opening batsman was worth 121 runs and gave the new man at the wicket, Virat Kohli, a formidable platform on which to build India’s advantage heading into the final session of the day.
Fresh from a career-best 200 in the first Test in Antigua, the Indian captain reached the interval on 21.
Just when Kohli (44) started showing aggressive intent, he fell to a soft dismissal, caught at forward short leg by Rajendra Chandrika as he tried to steer Chase.
The Indian captain smashed two fours and a towering six off Devendra Bishoo’s previous over to collect 16 runs.
Another centurion from the first Test, Ravichandran Ashwin (3) was the next to go, leg before to Bishoo. Ajinkya Rahane (42 not out) was then joined by Wriddhiman Saha (17 not out) as the duo put on 31 runs for the sixth wicket.
West Indies went wicketless through the morning session with the overnight pair of Rahul and Pujara putting on 59 runs in the two hours of play.
It was a period when play meandered along, the exception being the moment Rahul reached his third Test century, hoisting off-spinner Chase over wide long-on for the first six of the innings. He hit two more sixes in the afternoon session, but continued to bat carefully as he reached a valuable ton.