With the third day of the St Lucia Test being washed out completely, a draw seemed to be a rather imperative result. But, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, playing his first match in nearly a year-and-a-half has given India a chance of going for a win on the final day. Kumar's figures of 5 for 33 saw West Indies collapse from 202 for 3 to 225 all-out, to give India a healthy lead of over 100. India then, aided by brisk knocks from Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma finished the day on 157 from 3 in 39 overs, to end with a impressive lead of 285.
It will be interesting to see whether India decide to declare on their overnight score or bat on for a while on the final day. Knowing the positive intent of Virat Kohli, India might well declare overnight, but considering the fact that India failed to take six wickets in the previous Test, they might reconsider an early declaration. Knowing that, they needed to score quickly to be in with a chance, Lokesh Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan both showed intent early on. Rahul raced to 28 off 24, as India inched ahead. But, the loss of him, Dhawan and another failure for Kohli meant Rahane and Rohit had to slow down for a while.
The day began with Kraigg Braithwaite and Darren Bravo continuing their overnight resolve, and then Jermaine Blackwood and Marlon Samuels keeping the Indians at bay. At one stage, West Indies were in a good position to overtake the hosts score, but they quickly stumbled once the fourth wicket fell. The first wicket of the day came via an Ishant Sharma bouncer. Bravo took his eyes off the ball, and top-edged one. But, it was a decision fraught with controversy. Replays showed his foot might not have been behind the line. However, the third umpire ruled in the bowlers' favour giving him the benefit of doubt.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who hadn't done much till then, was successful in breaking the resistance of Braithwaite, who was looking set for a big score. Blackwood and Samuels did not look comfortable, but to their credit, they ensured they did not give their wickets away. Kohli would have been in a quandary as to whether to continue with the spinners, or go for the new ball. He decided the latter, and it proved to be a masterstroke. Blackwood, who was kept quiet by Bhuvneshwar for a elongated period eventually fell, losing patience, and edging an outswinger to Kohli at second slip.
Samuels moved on to 48, and was looking set for a half-century when Bhuvneshwar got him as well. He utilised the crease, going wide and slipping in an inswinger which took Samuels with surprise, and he played on. Ravindra Jadeja, got a big break on comeback, sending the man back who got a hundred in the previous match. Roston Chase edged a ball that turned. By now, Kumar was very much in his elements. He trapped Windies skipper Jason Holder lbw with one that came in, and had Alzarri Joseph caught with a straight ball. A couple of dropped catches meant Bhuvneshwar was denied a five-for, but he eventually got it, as Shane Dowrich edged a cut. Dhawan caught him at slip, but not before juggling it.
--By A Cricket Correspondent