Bravo goes big as Windies reach 575

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Darren Bravo saw to it that at least one batsman converted a half-century into three figures as the West Indies racked up a dominant 575 for nine at stumps on day two of the third and final Test against India at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

Darren Bravo saw to it that at least one batsman converted a half-century into three figures as the West Indies racked up a dominant 575 for nine at stumps on day two of the third and final Test against India at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

With Kraigg Brathwaite out for 68 and Adrian Barath 62 on Tuesday, Kirk Edwards (86), Kieran Powell (81), and Marlon Samuels (61) followed suit in the shortfall stakes.

All the while, Bravo worked his way to the third ton – all this year – of his burgeoning Test career. The talented left-hander lived up to his comparisons to the legendary Brian Lara, displaying graceful elegance through the off-side and severe punishment to the on-side. There was no stopping the 22-year-old until a rare loose shot shortly after the tea break saw him hole out for 166, 17 majestic boundaries included.

At 515 for eight, the damage had primarily been done and a string of late strikes from Varun Aaron (three for 106), who at least redeemed himself after a shoddy morning spell, wasn't enough to even marginally hurt the Windies' charge.

True, numbers seven through 11 managed a mere 26 runs between them and probably won't go much further than that come Thursday, but they did succeed in keeping India in the field for a second full day straight – in their own backyard, where they are largely expected to dominate. Including the final innings of the second Test, Mahendra Dhoni's men have now spent all of 353 overs in the stifling sun.

Resuming on 267 for two overnight, Bravo and Edwards added a further 47 runs before the fall of the latter. The right-hander looked entirely comfortable and a near certainty for a century before Ishant Sharma's peach of a length and a bit of away swing saw the batsman feather an edge to wicketkeeper Dhoni.

Edwards' departure offered the Indians only marginal, brief respite. Kieran Powell promptly picked up where his predecessor at the crease left off, working his way to his highest Test score of 81 during a fine 160-run stand with Bravo, while Aaron was loose throughout, Sharma tired and spinners Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin (four for 154) plugged away manfully to no avail.

It ultimately took a lazy cut shot from Powell off Ojha to end the prolific stand, with the young left-hander correct in kicking himself – mentally or physically – for missing out on what could easily have been a maiden Test ton.

Cartlon Baugh, Darren Sammy and Ravi Rampaul came an went. Samuels, meanwhile, filled his boots to the tune of a 13th Test half-century before adding his name to a list that sported five Windies wickets for the loss of just 48 runs. A 650-plus score, very much on the cards when Bravo and Powell were going strong, had quickly crashed to less heady heights on the back of debutant Aaron's trio of scalps and Ashwin's brace.

Having bowled an unprecedented 36 overs through the middle session, during which even Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag turned their arms over, India were sure to slow proceedings in the evening. Probably grateful to not snare the 10th victim and thus face an awkward 20-minute period with the bat, a tough task awaits the top-through middle-order on Thursday, when an otherwise placid track is expected to start taking turn.

The Windies, meanwhile, will wander why they couldn't find this sort of resolve before slipping to a two-nil series defeat and look to leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo and company to build on the hard graft put in the by the batsman.

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