Ashwin, Saha rescue India


India were grateful for the gritty resistance of Ravichandran Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha as they closed day one of the third Test with West Indies on 234-5.

Having made two changes to their top order on Tuesday following the drawn second Test in Jamaica, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara dropping out, India were initially reduced to 19-2 after losing the toss at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in St Lucia.

However, a half-century from KL Rahul helped steady the ship, before Ashwin - who has starred with bat and ball in this series - and Saha batted for 40 and a half overs to reach stumps unbeaten on 75 and 46 respectively.

The sixth-wicket pair shared 108, a flurry of late boundaries off the second new ball coming in stark contrast to the slow progress made earlier in the day. The Windies were left to rue Ashwin being bowled off a Shannon Gabriel no-ball on 35.

India, 1-0 up in the four-Test series, added just 43 runs from 29 overs between lunch and tea, having been forced onto the back foot thanks in part to two wickets from teenage debutant Alzarri Joseph.

Gabriel claimed the first scalp of the match, Shikhar Dhawan gloving down the leg side for one in the third over.

Yet it was Joseph who soon took centre stage by making Virat Kohli (3) his first international victim. A short ball appeared to surprise the India skipper, who could only fend to Darren Bravo at first slip.

The positive Rahul brought up his half-century from just 64 balls, only to then fall to the next delivery, from Roston Chase.

Joseph then had Rohit Sharma caught behind for nine shortly after lunch and the run-rate dropped dramatically thereafter as Ashwin, promoted to six in the re-jigged line-up, and Ajinkya Rahane dug in.

Rahane faced 133 balls for his 35, but was bowled when he missed a full toss from Chase with the tea interval looming.

That proved to be the Windies' last breakthrough, however, as Ashwin made the most of his reprieves and found a willing ally in wicketkeeper Saha.