Gros Islet, St. Lucia: India A look like losing the third and final unofficial Test and with it the series to West Indies A after pacers Delorn Johnson and Kevin McClean devastated them on the third day of the match. Trailing by 106 runs in the first innings, India were 181 for 7 at stumps on the penultimate day of the game here at the Beausejour Cricket Stadium on Monday.
Earlier in the day, West Indies lost their remaining two wickets in 20 minutes, adding 16 runs to their overnight 320 for 8, to be bowled out for 336 in the first innings in reply to India's 230. Off-spinner Jalaj Saxena and medium-pacer Parvinder Awana claimed three wickets each.
India's top-order batsmen, barring Manoj Tiwari, yet again struggled against the new ball bowlers as Johnson (3 for 43) and McClean (3 for 47) bowled with a lot of fire, making the ball wobble around.
Tiwary's 62 propped up the innings while wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha was holding things together at the end with an unbeaten 48 as India barely have a 75 runs lead with three wickets in hand.
Johnson then ran through India's top-order to leave the visitors tottering at 30 for 3 at lunch. Left-handed Abhinav Mukund clobbered two fours and a six in 20 off 13 balls before nicking Johnson behind and his partner Ajinkya Rahane followed in a similar fashion after scoring only two runs. McClean then claimed the prized wicket of captain Cheteshwar Pujara for two, courtesy a brilliant one-handed diving catch at gully by Kieran Powell, leaving India at 28 for 3 in the sixth over of the innings.
After the break, the Indian innings was in complete disarray as Rohit Sharma's poor form continued when he edged Johnson to Kyle Corbin at third slip for two. Tiwary and Saha then rescued the innings with a precious 95-run fifth-wicket stand. Tiwary hit 10 fours and a six in an innings lasting 119 balls and 154 minutes while Saha has so far faced 152 balls in three hours and 34 minutes at the crease, hitting six fours.
India were rebuilding their innings steadily when McClean returned to trap Tiwary in front to make it 130 for 5 and with just two runs added, Saxena was brilliantly taken by Devendra Bishoo at point off McClean.
Bishoo then bowled Akshay Darekar for 15 to leave West Indies in full control of the unoffician Test.
India A: 230 (Jalaj Saxena 61, Cheteshwar Pujara 33, Ajinkya Rahane 32, Manoj Tiwary 32, Wriddhiman Saha 27; Devendra Bishoo 3 for 40, Jonathan Carter 3 for 57) and 181 for 7 (Abhinav Mukund 20, Manoj Tiwary 62, Wriddhiman Saha batting 48, Akshay Darerkar 15, Shami Ahmed batting 16; Delorn Johnson 3 for 43, Kevin McClean 3 for 47)
West Indies A 336 (Kieran Powell 139, Devon Thomas 50, Donovan Pagon 30, Kyle Corbin 26; Jalaj Saxena 3 for 55, Parvinder Awana 3 for 81, Shami Ahmed 2 for 75)