Barring a miracle, India will win the first Test match against the West Indies, most likely inside four days. After the batsmen piled on a big score on the first two days, the India bowlers, led by Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, did their business splendidly to put West Indies on the brink of a defeat in Antigua.
Starting the day on 31/1 in 16 overs in answer to India's first innings score of 566/8 declared, apart from Kraigg Brathwaite (74, 218b, 7x4), Shane Dowrich (57 n.o., 79b, 10x4) and Jason Holder (36, 52b, 5x4 1x6), no other West Indies batsmen really showed the stomach for the fight, as the home team were bowled out for 243 in 90.2 overs, giving the visitors a 323-run lead. With such a big first innings advantage, India, whose best bowlers were Shami and Yadav, with R Ashwin not picking up a single wicket, enforced the follow-on.
Ishant Sharma, who went wicketless in the first innings, steamed in and dismissed Brathwaite lbw in the first over with an inswinger, and while Rajendra Chandrika and Darren Bravo made sure no more wickets would fall on day three, West Indies, on 21/1 in 13 overs, trailing India by 302 runs, have a mountain to climb, and then some, if they are to somehow save this Test.
West Indies showed some resistance in the first hour of the third day, with nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo refusing to throw his wicket away, while Kraigg Brathwaite was solid as ever in defence at the other end. The India bowlers bowled good lengths, but the problem was that they did not make the batsmen play often enough.
Ishant, in particular, stuck to his line and length outside off stump, but that allowed the batsmen to leave the balls comfortably, with only Shami constantly posing the right questions. It looked like being a really frustrating first session for India, with Bishoo (12, 46b, 1x4) staying strong, before India's persistence paid off, with legspinner Amit Mishra getting the much-needed breakthrough by inducing the nightwatchman out of the crease with Wriddhiman Saha, who would have a busy day in terms of dismissals, doing the rest.
From there it was all about Shami as the pacer scythed through the West Indies middle order, with Darren Bravo (11, 33b, 1x4), Marlon Samuels (1, 16b), who, according to Jeff Dujon could be playing his final Test series, and Jermaine Blackwood (0, 4b) all falling victim. Shami (20-4-66-4) is a bowler India have missed desperately, because he brings so much more potency to the attack. Not only does he hit the right lines and lengths, but he gets the ball to do just enough to cause problems to the batsmen.
While just watching the highlights might suggest that both Bravo and Samuels, who hung their bats out to find the outside edges through to Saha, could have easily avoided their dismissals, it came because of Shami's ability to just move the ball just enough either way.
With Blackwood getting a snorter that climbed on him, West Indies found themselves in big trouble on 92/5, and while Roston Chase (23, 45b, 1x4), the debutant, and Kraigg Brathwaite put on a 47-run partnership to stem the wicket glut, those dismissals came pouring again as Yadav got in on the act, picking up the two settled batsmen, one with a short ball and the other by finding the outside edge.
West Indies would not just lie down and play dead, however, as Jason Holder, the captain, and Shane Dowrich, the wicketkeeper, allied for a counter-attacking 69-run partnership for the eighth wicket, with Mishra, in particular, leaking too many runs.
Yadav (18-8-41-4), again, was the man to break the partnership, picking up Holder with an outswinger for Saha's sixth dismissal of the innings, with the second new ball, before Carlos Brathwaite was dismissed for a golden duck courtesy an in-dipped that struck timber.
Dowrich, however, continued to frustrate the India bowlers, smacking a few boundaries knowing the end was near, and when it came after Mishra bowled No.11 Shannon Gabriel, the question was if India would enforce the follow on, which Kohli duly did.
Fall of wickets: West Indies first innings: 30/1, 14.2 overs (Rajendra Chandrika); 68/2, 32.1 overs (Devendra Bishoo); 90/3, 42.3 overs (Darren Bravo); 92/4, 48.2 overs (Marlon Samuels); 92/5, 49 overs (Jermaine Blackwood); 139/6, 65.4 overs (Roston Chase); 144/7, 67.3 overs (Kraigg Brathwaite); 213/8, 85.2 overs (Jason Holder); 213/9, 85.3 overs (Carlos Brathwaite); 243/10, 90.2 overs (Shannon Gabriel).
West Indies second innings: 2/1, 0.5 overs (Kraigg Brathwaite).