After India declared their first innings at a formidable 421 for five, anticipation was high for an improved batting performance from the Caribbean batters.However, they were simply not up to the task and crumbled to a meagre 130 all out in just 50.3 overs, leading to a decisive three-day finish.
As it happened: India vs West Indies, 1st Test
Ashwin followed up his impressive 33rd five-wicket haul in the first innings with envy-inducing figures of seven for 71 in 21.3 overs, marking his best performance in an overseas Test match. His extraordinary bowling prowess left the West Indies struggling and unable to mount a substantial challenge.
The result was a foregone conclusion after the West Indies were bundled out for 150 on the opening day.
India’s big win was also set up by Yashasvi Jaiswal who made a sublime 171 on debut. Virat Kohli contributed with 76 off 182 but it was not among his fluent knocks as he had to work extremely hard for his runs and was even dropped twice along the way.
The second and final Test starts in Port of Spain, Trinidad, from July 20. India, who have not lost a Test to West Indies since 2002, will be expected to complete a clean sweep and pick up crucial points in the World Test Championship.
The writing was on the wall for the West Indies when they were reduced to a dismal 32 for four in their second innings. The conditions on the pitch resembled the slow and dry tracks of India, prompting Indian captain Rohit Sharma to introduce spin as early as the fifth over.
By tea, the West Indies had slipped to 27 for two in 19 overs, with Ashwin and Jadeja dismissing Kraigg Brathwaite (7) and Tagenarine Chanderpaul (7) respectively. Jadeja caught Chanderpaul leg-before-wicket with a deceptive delivery that turned from the middle stump, as confirmed by the Decision Review System (DRS). Brathwaite, seemingly perplexed by Ashwin’s skills, edged a straighter delivery to Ajinkya Rahane at first slip.
The only West Indies batsman who displayed assurance at the crease was debutant Alick Athanaze, who managed a resilient 28 off 44 balls. Fearlessly sweeping Ashwin and unleashing square cuts and pulls against Mohammed Siraj, the talented left-handed batsman showed promise. However, he was ultimately caught at short leg by Yashasvi Jaiswal off Ashwin’s bowling in the 37th over.
India declared their innings after lunch, seemingly waiting for debutant Ishan Kishan to score his first run, which took 20 balls. The visitors batted for an impressive 152.2 overs in their first innings, accumulating a significant lead of 271 runs.
After lunch, Virat Kohli was the only Indian batsman to be dismissed. Although he survived two dropped catches early on, he fell into the trap laid by off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall. Kohli flicked a bouncing delivery from middle stump straight into the hands of the leg slip fielder.
In the morning session, young prodigy Yashasvi Jaiswal became only the third Indian to score 150 on debut, while Kohli had to work hard for his half-century. The Indian team reached an impressive 400 for four at lunch, having resumed the day at 312 for two. However, they had to toil for their runs on a slow pitch with ample turn and a heavy outfield.
Left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican created issues for Kohli, who received a lifeline when he was dropped on 40 by West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite. Jaiswal, on the other hand, confidently stepped out to Warrican, dispatching him for a straight six. He joined the elite club of Indians who have scored 150 on debut, matching the achievements of Shikhar Dhawan (187) and Rohit Sharma (177).
Jaiswal’s journey towards a double century was cut short when he edged a delivery angled away from Alzarri Joseph. Ajinkya Rahane, who had a chance to make a significant impact, attempted a risky drive on the slow pitch against Kemar Roach, resulting in a straightforward catch at cover.
With Rahkeem Cornwall unable to bowl in the morning due to his absence on the second day, the West Indies bowlers conceded easy boundaries to India towards the end of the session.
(With inputs from PTI)