Miller bowls Windies to 162-run victory

Miller bowls Windies to 162-run victory

India 'A' collapse to 152 all out in second innings, chasing 315 for victory

Miller bowls Windies to 162-run victory

West Indies ‘A’s decision to declare overnight and have India ‘A’ chase 315 on a crumbling fourth-day pitch paid rich dividends as the hosts lost the first of the three-match unofficial ‘Test’ series by 162 runs here on Saturday at the Gangotri Glades.

West Indies had scored 429 in their first innings, and then bundled India out for 245 in their first stint. The visitors made 130 for three in their second innings on Friday, and Windies’ skipper Kirk Edwards surprised everyone by declaring at the overnight score, leaving India to chase a stiff target. India were bowled out for 152 in their second essay to give West Indies a 1-0 lead in the series which now moves to Shimoga for the second ‘Test’ starting on October 2.

There was a brief phase early in Indian innings when they seemed steady, but as the West Indies’ spinners got into their stride, the hosts were tugging at all ends to try and draw the match.

At the start of the day, restoring pride at Shimoga was the last thing on India’s mind. They had more immediate concerns. Nikita Miller, who sent down a 26-over spell on the third day of the ‘Test’ to claim four wickets, and Veerasammy Permaul were right up there on that list.

Well aware of the patches on the pitch that suited the left-arm spinner, Edwards had Miller bowl the first over from Hunsur End along with pacer Miguel Cummins.  Openers KL Rahul (9) and Jiwanjot Singh (24) seemed rather comfortable facing Cummins and Delorn Johnson who replaced him after seven overs, but they still found it hard to play out Miller.

Miller extracted serious turn and bounce off the pitch and got past the edge of both Rahul and Jiwanjot on numerous occasions. One such delivery caught the edge of Rahul’s bat and ricocheted off wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton’s gloves in the 13th over. Leon Johnson at first slip completed the job.

Seeing that there was little in the wicket for pacers, Edwards replaced Delorn with Permaul from the Coffee Board End and immediatly the left-armer struck, ousting Jiwanjot who looked in good touch.

Walking in with his team in a dire situation, skipper Cheteshwar Pujara had a tough job to do. The Saurashtra batsman looked in much better form than in the first innings, and handled the West Indian bowlers with ease to get some quick runs under his belt. However, his stay was cut short when Miller trapped him in front of the stumps, leaving the batsman and the Saturday crowd in utter disbelief.

With three of the top order batsmen back in the hut, it was up to Manpreet Juneja (70, 195m, 193b, 4x4, 1x6) to deliver and the stylish Gujarat batsman produced a gritty effort despite severe cramps. But with Miller (5-40) running riot and Permaul (3-56) doing damage from the other end, Juneja could do little to keep India’s hopes fluttering for long.