Roseau (Dominica): Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni top-scored with an unbeaten 65 as India produced a strong batting display to consolidate their position in the third and final cricket Test against the West Indies by taking a healthy 104-run lead on day three here.


As many as four visiting batsmen scored fifties as India, resuming at eight for no loss, ended the day at 308 for six while replying to the hosts' first innings total of 204 all out.

Dhoni shared 103-run sixth wicket stand with Suresh Raina (50) and made sure that the good work of opener Abhinav Mukund (62), VVS Laxman (56) Virat Kohli (30) does not go waste.

West Indies, deprived of the services of Ravi Rampaul and handicapped by a hobbling Darren Sammy, wilted under a scorching sun and a flat pitch on a day when 94 overs were bowled at the Windsor Park.

Nearly 90 overs were lost on the first two days of the match due to poor light and rain but no such problem interrupted play on Friday.

India lost two early wickets of Murali Vijay (1) and Rahul Dravid (5) but thereafter steadily mounted their total without ever dominating a depleted attack.

Dhoni played his first innings of substance in the tour, and when on 52, completed 3000 runs in Test cricket in the 86th innings of his 57th Test.

The Indian captain has so far batted for 157 minutes and struck three fours from 109 balls. He walked in when India were frittering away the advantage, losing three wickets in the afternoon to ordinary deliveries.

Mukund, Kohli and Laxman were all guilty of poor judgment as the visitors lost three wickets in the middle session.

Mukund had serenely moved to his top Test score of 62 when he shaped to play a rising ball from Bishoo towards mid-wicket, but only managed to edge it for Adrian Barath to gleefully accept the offer at forward short leg.

Kohli seemed intent on making up for his lost chances and had reached 30 without much ado but poked at a harmless delivery from Sammy down the leg-side for wicket-keeper Carlton Baugh to pull off a brilliant catch.

Laxman's dismissal was a freak one when he allowed a leg-spin delivery from Shivnarine Chanderpaul to go to Baugh but his backfoot lost contact with the ground for just a fraction of second, which was enough for the keeper to whip off the bails.

Laxman was flabbergasted but there was little doubt that it was his own carelessness which did him in. He shared an 84-run stand for the third wicket with Mukund and 52 for the next wicket with Kohli.

Mukund batted for 176 minutes and hit five fours from 149 balls while Laxman handled 129 balls in 207 minutes, caressing three boundaries.

Dhoni, in the company of Raina, then put his head down and began rebuilding the innings with singles and twos.

There was never any temptation to throw their bats at a wilting attack, or at least cart the leg-spin of Chanderpaul around the park, as the two showed intent to build a sizeable lead over the hosts.

Their stand occupied the most of final session and raised 100 runs in 113 minutes from 182 balls.

Raina showed uncharacteristic restraint and reached his half-century in 131 minutes, hitting three fours from 103 balls.

West Indies struck with the second new ball straightaway when Fidel Edwards won a leg before shout against Raina.

The young left-hander batted for 134 minutes and struck three from 103 balls. His half-century has now made him the top scorer from either side for the series. He now has 224 runs while Dravid has 217 runs.

There was no further joy for West Indies but for the emergence of Rampaul from the dressing room as Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh (12) helped India reach their first 300-plus score of the series.

Earlier in the day, India lost Vijay (1) and Dravid (5) within the first five overs to be 18 for two before normalcy was restored.

Vijay was nearly bowled off a low full toss in Edwards' first over, squeezing the ball between the slip cordon for a four, but his tendency to push at the ball once again proved his undoing.

In Edwards' next over, a delivery took the edge of his bat on way to wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh’s gloves.

The Tamil Nadu opener is in the middle of a wretched run of scores, the sequence of his five innings in the series reading 8,0,11,3 and 1.

Dravid then fell to Sammy, making the normally passive West Indian captain roar in triumph as he has not done at any stage in this series.

Dravid played for an away movement at the delivery which kept coming straight and went between bat and pad to rattle the stumps.


West Indies: Kieron Powell, Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo, Kirk Edwards, Marlon Samuels, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Carlton Baugh, Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul, Darren Sammy (capt) and Devendra Bishoo

India: Abhinav Mukund, Murali Vijay, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar.

Umpires: Richard Kettleborough (England) and Asad Rauf (Pakistan).