Udayavni Special

Kohli, Agarwal fifties prop up India despite Holder’s burst

Team Udayavani, Aug 31, 2019, 10:25 AM IST

Kingston: Virat Kohli’s fighting 76 and opener Mayank Agarwal’s half century guided India to 264 for five on the first day of their second World Championships Test against the West Indies here.

Put into bat on a tricky Sabina Park pitch, India were reduced to 46 for two in the opening session, but Kohli and Agarwal (55) worked hard to rebuild the innings with a 69-run stand for the third wicket.

Kohli had another 49-run partnership, with first Test centurion Ajinkya Rahane (24), for the fourth wicket as India picked up the scoring rate in the second session, which saw 85 runs being added from 29 overs.

But the two big wickets — of Kohli and Rahane — in the final session put the brakes on India just when the visiting team was beginning to consolidate. Captain Kohli faced 163 deliveries, hitting 10 boundaries.

At the draw of stumps, Rishabh Pant and Hanuma Vihari were batting on 27 and 42 respectively, having stitched 62 runs from 17.5 overs for the unfinished sixth wicket. A lot will depend on the duo for India to post a good total on the second day.

Pant, who has a tendency of throwing away wickets, was batting sensibly during his 64-ball unbeaten knock, hitting two fours and a six while Vihari was going strong in an 80-ball unbeaten innings, which had eight boundaries in it.

Kohli, who worked hard in the first and second sessions, was beginning to impose himself on the West Indian bowlers and looked set for a bigger innings. But he fell to a peach of a delivery bowled by his West Indian counterpart Jason Holder.

The delivery, on a perfect length, pitched around the off and jagged away enough to take the outside edge of Kohli’s bat and go through to the keeper.

The Indian captain was a bit lucky when on 55, as replays suggested he could have been out in the 62nd over bowled by Kemar Roach (1/47), but the West Indies had exhausted their quota of two reviews by then.

Rahane was out in the first over after tea as he dangled his bat outside the off-stump for Jahmar Hamilton to take the catch. The India vice-captain was quite at ease during his stay at the middle but could not convert the start this time.

For the West Indies, Holder produced a brilliant spell and took three wickets for 39 runs.

Agarwal laid the foundation of the Indian fightback with a solid batting display. Playing in his fourth Test, the 28-year-old reached his fifty as he edged a Roach delivery to the boundary ropes.

Agarwal fell inside the first hour of the post-lunch session after scoring his third career half century. His cut shot in the 41st over went straight to first slip fielder Rakheem Cornwall. His 55 came from 127 balls, and it included seven boundaries.

Kohli took time to settle down, opening his account after facing 16 balls during the morning session. He was tested by the tight bowling from the West Indians, especially by debutant off-spinner Cornwall (1/41).

The Indian captain gained in confidence as the day wore on, hitting two exquisite cover drives towards the end of the second session. He reached his 22nd career half century off a single in the 55th over bowled by Shannon Gabriel.

Earlier, India laboured their way to 72 for two from 30 overs after opener K L Rahul (13) and Cheteshwar Pujara (6) were dismissed cheaply in the opening session on a pitch, which had some grass on it.

Holder introduced himself in the seventh over and immediately got the breakthrough by dismissing Rahul.

Pujara struggled again as he took 15 deliveries to open his account and was finally out for 6 (off 25 deliveries), giving Cornwall his first Test wicket.

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