Ashwin, Saha close on hundreds against Windies

Ravichandran Ashwin (Gallo Images)
Ravichandran Ashwin (Gallo Images)

Gros-Islet - Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha were both on the verge of hundreds as India reached 316 for five at lunch on the second day of the third Test against the West Indies on Wednesday.

With a century already in the first match of the series and all three of his Test hundreds against the West Indies, Ashwin will resume in the afternoon session on 99, having been kept within a run of the landmark for the last 20 minutes of the morning's play.

In contrast, Saha accelerated his innings while his partner was becalmed to be unbeaten on 93, already his best effort in Test cricket and within sight of a maiden hundred in this format of the game.

Their partnership at the Darren Sammy National Stadium, so far worth 190, is now the best sixth-wicket effort for India against the West Indies in Tests.

West Indies lacked purpose and aggression in their effort on the second morning, in stark contrast to the opening session of the Test the previous day.

Then, fast bowlers Shannon Gabriel and debutant Alzarri Joseph made early strikes and later had India struggling at 126 for five just before the tea break.

Missed opportunities in the final session of day one have now proved costly with Ashwin dropped at short-leg off Roston Chase and then caught off a Gabriel no-ball.

Ashwin and Saha picked up from where they left off late on the first day, attacking the second new ball at the start of play on day two before settling back into the watchful mode of their innings.

Yet even as the score slowed to a crawl for much of the session, West Indies captain Jason Holder just could not conjure the breakthrough even as he rotated his four frontline bowlers along with the off-spin of Chase, which has become an increasingly important element of the home side's limited armoury in the series.

It was only in the last half-hour to lunch that the sixth-wicket pair displayed any concerted aggression and Saha seemed set to get to three figures ahead of his senior partner, such was the almost complete absence of stroke play from Ashwin at that point.

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