Roseau, Dominica: Steady rain blighted a promising start under clear skies and bright sunshine in the first ever Test in Dominica - the 106th Test venue - to ensure that only 31.1 overs were possible on the first day. In that time, India had made good use of their only opportunity to bowl first this series, removing three top-order wickets on a good batting track. India's decision to bowl was prompted by the moisture in the pitch, but it didn't play a significant role; instead the seamers were persistent against the inexperienced batting that includes two debutants. Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo stitched together a 40-run stand in a rebuilding effort before the rain swooped in.
There was another landmark for West Indies on Wednesday: Chanderpaul became the most-capped West Indies Test cricketer, overtaking Courtney Walsh, and he fittingly handed out the maroon caps to the two debutants, Kieran Powell and Kirk Edwards. There was wobbly swing for Praveen Kumar early on and, barring a couple of misdirected balls down the leg-side, he set about working at the openers outside off-stump. Powell left the ball well, and solidly kept out the odd ones that nipped back in. A tall opener from Leeward Islands with a sound defence, Powell had gone along patiently but couldn't resist stabbing at Praveen, who teased him with one that came back in, to edge to second slip.
Barath had negotiated the deliveries bowled in the channel but offered hope to the bowlers with his constant shuffles towards off. Ishant had bowled a couple of shortish deliveries at Barath and following a change of ends, in the 13th over, continued hitting that length. Barath hooked a bouncer, played at the next one down the leg side and saw it clip his thigh pad and then opted to attack again when Ishant delivered a third consecutive ball in that region. He walked across to swivel and pull one behind square, only to drag it off his glove onto the stumps. Ishant had won the battle.
Ishant hit the deck and the bat hard, aiming at Bravo's ribs and then inducing him to cut uppishly past an absent gully. But he had some support from the other end in dismissing Kirk Edwards. Munaf Patel, playing his first Test since April 2009, had put Edwards in some discomfort with a series of short balls. When Edwards faced up to Ishant in the 17th over, he attempted a hook against a bouncer that didn't quite deserve it and was adjudged caught-behind, though replays indicated the ball had deflected off the helmet. Edwards indicated to the umpire he'd been struck on the helmet, potentially warranting some attention from the match referee. Chanderpaul walked in to big cheers from a small crowd and settled in, for the umpteenth time, to the assignment of stabilising a wobbling innings in his 133rd Test.
India - who bowled at a much improved over-rate, with their captain liable for a one-Test ban if it slipped again - turned to spin before lunch and Harbhajan Singh, just two wickets away from 400 in Tests, extracted decent bounce in his very first over. But barring a top-edged sweep that fell safe, Chanderpaul, along with Bravo, defended well and rotated the strike. The pair picked a boundary each with delicious drives off Praveen after lunch and looked to be setting a platform for recovery when the weather, having grown overcast, did what was feared.