A crowd numbering close to 10,000 poured into the KSCA Stadium here on Wednesday and as evening approached, it found its voice.
Seven West Indies ‘A’ wickets fell in a heap after tea as perhaps for the first time this series, India ‘A’ unquestionably left the field with the upper hand.
Abhishek Nayar finished with four wickets and Dhawal Kulkarni three to help dismiss the opponent for a modest 268 on the opening day of this final four-day ‘Test.’
At close, India ‘A’ was 10 for no loss in response, Gautam Gambhir and V.A. Jagadeesh unharmed at the wicket.
West Indies ‘A’ knit a number of decent partnerships, but none assumed substantial proportions. The visitor was a patient 78 for two at lunch, before Leon Johnson and Narsingh Deonarine oversaw a period of steady accumulation.
Johnson started gingerly — edging frequently through the slip cordon — but eventually, confidence appeared to seep in.
When he was dropped on 51 by Paras Dogra at second slip, two emphatic boundaries followed in the same Kulkarni over.
It was Nayar who delivered the breakthrough, having Deonarine caught behind at the other end with his earnest medium-pace; the wicket snapped a threatening stand of 70.
The Mumbai all-rounder struck again in the first over after tea, trapping Johnson in front for 81.
Kulkarni then removed Jahmar Hamilton and Assad Fudadin in quick succession as West Indies ‘A’ lost seven for 93 in the final session.
Zaheer Khan, the focus of much attention, sent down 15 overs in short spells.
His day had begun well, with the wicket of Kraigg Brathwaite. India ‘A’s would end on a similar happy note.
West Indies ‘A’ — 1st innings: Kraigg Brathwaite c Kaul b Zaheer 1 (20b) , Kieran Powell b Kulkarni 21 (55b, 3x4) , Leon Johnson lbw b Nayar 81 (148b, 15x4) , Narsingh Deonarine c Kaul b Nayar 35 (55b, 6x4) , Assad Fudadin c Jagadeesh b Kulkarni 47 (95b, 3x4) , Jonathan Carter c Kaul b Pandey 17 (27b, 3x4) , Jahmar Hamilton b Kulkarni 15 (29b, 2x4) , Nikita Miller c Dogra b Nayar 18 (23b, 2x4) , Ashley Nurse lbw b Bhatt 4 (11b, 1x4) , Delorn Johnson c Kulkarni b Nayar 0 (5b) , Miguel Cummins (not out) 0 (0b) ; Extras (b-12, lb-11, nb-2, w-4): 29; Total (in 77.4 overs): 268.
Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Brathwaite), 2-53 (Powell), 3-123 (Deonarine), 4-175 (Leon Johnson), 5-199 (Carter), 6-240 (Hamilton), 7-251 (Fudadin), 8-265 (Nurse), 9-268 (Delorn Johnson).
India ‘A’ bowling: Zaheer Khan 15-5-33-1, Ishwar Pandey 16-4-44-1, Dhawal Kulkarni 16-4-60-3, Abhishek Nayar 20.4-6-61-4, Bhargav Bhatt 10-1-47-1.
India ‘A’ — 1st innings: V.A. Jagadeesh (batting) 8 (19b) , Gautam Gambhir (batting) 2 (11b) ; Total (for no loss in five overs): 10.
West Indies ‘A’ bowling: Miguel Cummins 2-1-5-0, Delorn Johnson 2-1-2-0, Jonathan Carter 1-0-3-0.