India celebrate top ranking with solid start


TRINIDAD: Less than a day after becoming the world number one-ranked test nation, India made a solid start in the fourth test against West Indies, picking up two wickets before rain halted play for the day in Trinidad.
Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin claimed one wicket apiece as West Indies reached to 62 for two in the 22 overs available at Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain.
India assumed the top spot on the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings when Australia lost the third test to be swept 3-0 in their series against Sri Lanka on Wednesday.
However, India’s stay at the top could be short-lived, as they need to beat the West Indies in the fourth test to claim the series 3-0 and prevent Pakistan from leapfrogging them.
India captain Virat Kohli acknowledged his team’s improvement since they lost a four-test series 2-0 in Australia early last year, but was in no danger of getting carried away with the ranking.
He knows there will be bigger fish to fry than the struggling Windies, with eight home tests looming against New Zealand and England before year’s end.
“Ever since Australia we’ve really tightened up the screws and brought the team back to the top in test cricket but (it could be) a pretty short-lived one,” Kohli said after his opposite number, Jason Holder, won the toss and opted to bat.
“We know the (ranking) table’s pretty clos. We haven’t played the number of games the other teams have played, so I think we’ll be in a better position to judge ourselves as a team at the end of this long season.”
Ishant did not open the attack but after biding his time in the field for 11 overs, the lanky paceman struck with his first ball, a rising delivery that Leon Johnson, on nine, could only fend into the diving hands of Rohit Sharma at short leg.
Off-spinner Ashwin then dismissed Darren Bravo in the 15th over with a beautiful delivery that pitched on leg stump and turned to take the number three’s off stump.
Opener Kraigg Brathwaite was unbeaten on 32 when rain stopped play, with Marlon Samuels on four.
The Umpires subsequently suspended play for the day as the rain continued and the outfield become increasingly waterlogged.
India made two changes from the third test, bringing in opener Murali Vijay for Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara as an extra batsman in place of spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
West Indies brought in leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo for pace bowler Alzarri Joseph.