Samuels and Bravo in rollicking stand

Kolkata, Nov 6 (IANS): The West Indies made a decent start, reaching 107/2 at lunch on day one of the first Test against India at the Eden Gardens here Wednesday.

Opting to bat, the visitors lost openers Chris Gayle (18) and Kieran Powell (28; 5x4, 1x6), while Marlon Samuels (45; 55 b. 6x4, 2x6) and Darren Bravo (16) were in the middle before half empty stands, which belied the Cricket Association of Bengal's hopes for a full house in Sachin Tendulkar's swansong game at the hallowed ground.

Samuels and Bravo have already put on 60 off 112 balls for the third wicket.

The destructive Gayle clobbered debutant pacer Mohammed Shami for three boundaries in the bowler's third over, but departed a little later. The batsman nudged at a Bhuvaneshwar Kumar delivery outside the off stump and the thick edge was accepted by Murli Vijay at second slip.

West Indies lost Powell close to the first drinks break as he attempted a pull off Shami and top edged to Kumar who ran backwards and took the offering, to give the Bengal bowler his maiden Test wicket.

The Caribbeans were then 47/2. But Samuels and Bravo played confidently on a pitch where the ball occasionally kept low. The 50 of the partnership came off 75 deliveries in 44 minutes, as Samuels executed some fluent shots.

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni introduced spin in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin in the 10th over, but Powell welcomed him for a straight field and then took another boundary to pick up 11 from the over. However, Ashwin settled down to a good line and length from the next over and at lunch had figures of 10-7-22-0.

Apart from Shami, India's Rohit Sharma and West Indies' Sheldon Cotterell made their debut during the day. Sharma became the first cricketer to get his maiden Test cap after playing 100 One Day Internationals.

Cotterel was included as Kemar Roach was unfit because of a shoulder problem.



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