Things don’t always happen on time in Trinidad. Th`ey aren’t too bothered about minor delays here. They thrive on them. And they say even God turns Trini when you’re in Trinidad & Tobago. The rain was supposed to arrive at the Queens Park Oval at around 11 am on Thursday. But it didn’t. It came half-hour later and you could hear the locals go, “because God’s Trini.” The first shower didn’t last for too long as it came more from the southeast direction and hence fizzled away.
But the second one, which hit the Oval 9 balls after play was restarted, came from the sea and was heavier and more or less washed out chances of any play. Though it did stop an hour later, it had left enough puddles all over the outfield to leave the chances of a restart rather unlikely.
By then India had laid the foundation for a massive score after being put in to bat by Jason Holder. Their openers had given them a solid and sprightly start on a two-paced wicket which had more in it for the spinners than the pacers. And the delay in the arrival of the showers should ideally have been long enough for Shikhar Dhawan to complete his century. But he fell 13 runs short.
It was a typically Dhawan innings till that point, free-flowing and filled with well-timed strokes. He basically was picking up from where he left off in England, where he finished as the highest run-getter of the Champions Trophy. The innings was laced with those typically short-arm jabs past the point fielder and slightly cramped whips to the on-side and Dhawan looked well on his way to another ton before being trapped by a googly from Devendra Bishoo.
Ajinkya Rahane too scored a half-century but his innings was more measured. It did contain three terrific drives on the up that won him immediate admiration from the sparse crowd for their Caribbean feel.
The West Indian pace attack, tall and brimming with pace, stuck to testing the bounce on the slow pitch. But rather than rising sharply, the bouncers sat up and were duly pummelled to the square boundaries by both Indian openers.
Miguel Cummins did produce the moment of the morning when he struck Virat Kohli on the helmet with a sharp bouncer, but the Indian captain had the final say when he pulled Cummins for four when the towering pacer looked for an encore. The only disappointment as far as the Indians were concerned was the soft dismissal of Yuvraj Singh who flicked a harmless delivery on the pads from Jason Holder straight to Evin Lewis at mid-wicket.
That his dismissal came just minutes before the first shower arrived at Trini time only made it worse.
Brief scores: India 199/3 in 39.2 overs (S Dhawan 87, A Rahane 62; V Kohli 32 not out; Jason Holder 1/34, Devendra Bishoo 1/39) vs West Indies