Ashwin hits second Test ton, India take 219-run lead

    By Sirshendu Panth, IANS,

    Kolkata : Ravichandran Ashwin cracked his second Test ton as India tightened their grip by taking a massive 219-run lead over the West Indies on day three of the first cricket Test in Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell series here Friday.

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    The Indian innings ended at 453, and the umpires promptly called lunch five minutes ahead of scheduled time here at the Eden Gardens. West Indies had scored 234 in their first innings.

    Resuming at 354/6 overnight, Ashwin (124; 210b, 11×4) and Rohit Sharma (177; 301b 23×4 1×6) batted fluently to notch up a stand of 280 – an Indian highest for the seventh wicket – which catapulted the hosts to a strong position.

    Ashwin, who had taken the partnership to 200 in the morning’s second over with a streaky boundary of Tino Best, brought up his delightful 100 in the fourth over by pushing the same bowler through the sweeper cover.

    Reaching the three-figure mark, a visibly ecstatic Aswin punched the air as Tendulkar clapped in appreciation in the dressing room balcony. The landmark was reached of 159 balls

    With this century Ashwin joined the select club of Indians to hit the most Test 100s at No 8. Kapil Dev, Harbhajan Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have each got two centuries by coming to bat at the fall of the sixth wicket.

    All the four wickets in the morning session were equally shared by the visiting spinners on a track which played slow but gave turn. Offie Shane Shillingford (6/167) claimed his fifth five-wicket haul in 11 Tests. Left armer Veerasammy Permaul (2/67) was the the other successful bowler.

    Rohit, who executed some good strokes, completed his 150 of 254 balls. At drinks, India were 413/6.

    Rohit finally departed as he deliberately padded an offering from Permaul which pitched around the off stump and turned away.

    Aswhin was claimed by Shillingford with a flighted delivery which beat the batsman and dislodged the middle stump.

    Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (12) and Mohammad Shami (1) did not last long, as curtains came down on the hosts’ essay. Pragyan Ojha remained not out on two.