India took a stranglehold over the West Indies on the opening day of the first Test at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday.
Having restricted the visitors to 234 in the first innings, the home team put up 37 without loss in 12 overs in reply by stumps.
The in-form Shikhar Dhawan was batting on 21, and giving him company was Murali Vijay, on 16.
Earlier, India’s bowlers put up a good show to bundle out the West Indies for a paltry total, thereby nullifying the visitors’ decision to bat first.
Debutant Mohammad Shami was the pick of the bowlers, with figures of four for 71.
It was a memorable start for the local lad, as he registered the best figures by an Indian on debut at the Eden Gardens, besting Ghulam Ahmed’s four for 94 against the same opposition back in 1948.
R Ashwin finished with two wickets for 2-52 runs.
Both the teams are playing a Test after almost eight months and, as expected, took time to shake off the rust.
However, it was the home team that got into the groove immediately. Thanks to the exploits of their bowlers, and the confidence shown early on by their openers, the match could end in four days.
First session: (107 runs, 33 overs, two wickets)
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy got it right with the coin and had absolutely no hesitation in opting to bat first.
“It’s a tricky wicket and we absolutely don’t want to bat last here,” he reasoned.
Kemar Roach’s failure to recover meant Sheldon Cottrell was handed a Test debut.
There were two debutants for the home team as well, with Rohit Sharma finally getting a Test cap and Mohammad Shami being rewarded for his consistency and pace in the shorter format.
The occasion probably got the better of the latter as he was expensive in his opening spell, Chris Gayle hitting him for three boundaries in one over.
However, Bhuvneshawar Kumar provided India an early breakthrough, having Gayle (18) caught by Murali Vijay at second slip.
Shami did not have to wait long for his maiden wicket, though, a change of ends and a wonderful catch by Kumar at mid-off ensuring Kieran Powell’s (28) innings was cut short just when it seemed to take flight.
India had removed both the openers in the first hour. Bravo and Samuels ensured consolidation and stability in the next.
At lunch, the visitors were 107 for two.
Post-lunch session: (85 runs, 29.4 overs, five wickets)
Soon after resumption, Samuels completed his 19th Test fifty, his fifth against India, with a single off Ojha.
Eden has been a happy hunting ground for the 32-year-old, his maiden Test hundred having come at the venue back in October 2002.
However, the home team got a much-needed breakthrough soon after, three of them in fact. Three wickets in the space of three overs undid all the hard work done by Samuels and Bravo.
Samuels (65) was the first to go, Shami exploiting the huge gap between the bat and pad, even as the batsman went for a cover drive.
Samuels’s 98-ball knock was inclusive of 11 boundaries and two sixes, and he helped Bravo add 91 runs for the third wicket.
Bravo (23) was the next to go, run-out after a mix-up with Chanderpaul. The batsman nudged the ball behind square leg and trudged for a single that was non-existent. Chanderpaul did not move from his crease and Shami made no mistake with the throw.
The bowler was again in the thick of action, getting past the defences of Denesh Ramdin (4).
The West Indies had collapsed from 138 for 2 to 143 for 5 in the space of three overs.
Sammy (16) started with a few big hits but perished soon after, while attempting another, Bhuvneshwar taking a comfortable catch at long-off to hand Ojha his first wicket.
Chanderpaul and Shane Shillingford (5) hung on for some time.
Then, much to the delight of the crowd, Sachin Tendulkar bowled the last over before tea was taken.
The Master Blaster struck with his fourth delivery, having Shillingford out leg before, for his 46th Test wicket -- a good two years after he took his last.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar (right) speaks to Darren Bravo.
Post-tea session: (42 runs, 15.2 overs, three wickets)
Soon after resumption, Ashwin caught Veerasaamy Perumal (14) off his own bowling for his 93rd Test wicket.
Chanderpaul (36), playing in his 149th Test, hung around for some time, but with wickets falling at the other end on a regular basis there was nothing much he could do.
Ashwin spared the veteran further trouble by getting one to crash on to the stumps.
Shami returned to rattle debutant Cottrell stumps and end the West Indies innings, the visitors’ last eight wickets falling for the addition of just 96 runs.
Image: Mohammad Shami celebrates a wicket