New Delhi: R Ashwin's six wickets, which gave him the second-best match haul for an Indian debutant, and quick runs from Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Sammy pulled the game in opposite directions to leave it in a state of delicate balance. India were left with 276 to get for a first win in seven Tests, which if managed would be their third-highest successful chase. Virender Sehwag then rudely shook this balance with his sixth half-century in chases, but Sammy pulled West Indies back with Sehwag's wicket, only for two highest run-getters in Test cricket and its fourth innings, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, to give India the edge with an assured partnership before stumps. (Also see: Who is Ravichandran Ashwin?)
India had every reason to feel good about the chase: they had built some momentum, and only one of the 10 wickets was a direct consequence of the pitch's misbehaviour. The first session of the day, though, looked like the continuation of an exercise in making the Kotla pitch look brutish. India had started it on Monday, losing 10 wickets for 120 runs, and on this slow track with low but manageable bounce, West Indies found a way to lose four wickets in the first hour. It could have been three wickets in the first three overs, but Ishant was denied one by the umpire and Ashwin failed to catch a half chance.