» Cricket » Five-star Ashwin helps India dominate Day 1 vs West Indies

Five-star Ashwin helps India dominate Day 1 vs West Indies

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 31, 2016 04:26 IST
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IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin, right, celebrates with team mates after picking up a wicket on Day 1 of the second Test in Jamaica. Photograph: WICB Media Photo/Athelstan Bellamy

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed five wickets and KL Rahul hit an unbeaten half-century to help India dominate the opening day of the second Test against West Indies in Jamaica, on Saturday.

- Scorecard

Ashwin took five for 52, his second successive five-wicket haul, to bowl out the West Indies for 196 after they had elected to bat first.

In reply, Rahul hit 75 not out to steer India to 126 for one in 37 overs at stumps on Day 1. The right-hander hit 10 fours in his 114-ball knock as he put on an unbroken stand of 39 runs for the second wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara, who was unbeaten on 18 at close of play.

Rahul had put on 87 runs for the opening wicket with Shikhar Dhawan, who made 27 before he became Roston Chase's first Test victim when he was caught in the covers.

Ashwin took his 18th five wicket haul in Test cricket to take his wicket tally to an impressive 188 wickets in his 34th match. He has registered four five-wicket hauls in four consecutive matches and only third Indian spinner to do so after Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and Anil Kumble.

Earlier, fast bowler Ishant Sharma made early inroads with twin blows before Jermaine Blackwood's run-a-ball 62 as India maintained its stranglehold on West Indies restricting the home team to 88 for four at lunch on Day 1.

It was Ishant (2/24 in 6 overs) and Mohammed Shami (1/13 in 6 overs), who had the Caribbeans reeling at seven for three before Blackwood played a brilliant counter-attacking innings studded
with seven boundaries and four sixes.

He added 81 runs with an unusually subdued Marlon Samuels before being trapped leg-before at the stroke of lunch by Ashwin.

This was after skipper Jason Holder won the toss on a damp pitch and elected to bat first.

West Indies made one change to their line-up, bringing in debutant Miguel Cummins in place of Carlos Brathwaite, while India were forced to make a change as well. KL Rahul came into the side in place of the injured Murali Vijay.

Ishant and Shami started proceedings for India, and the two bowlers were right on the money from the word go.

Ishant, in particular, was impressive with his line and length, a marked improvement from the first Test in Antigua, as he pitched the ball further up and got it to move about.

IMAGE: Virat Kohli takes the catch to dismiss Darren Bravo off Ishant Sharma's bowling, on Day 1 of the second Test in Jamaica. Photograph: WICB Media Photo/Athelstan Bellamy

He also used the bounce on offer, and the rewards came quickly. Kraigg Brathwaite (1) was unable to fend off a short delivery in the 3rd over, lobbing an easy catch to Cheteshwar Pujara at forward short leg.

Off the very next ball, Darren Bravo (0) got an edge with skipper Virat Kohli completing a brilliant diving catch at second slip.

Three overs later, Shami got Rajendra Chandrika (5) to drive, only to find KL Rahul at gully to leave the West Indies in shambles within the first 30 minutes of play.

Blackwood joined Samuels in the middle, and suddenly there was a momentum shift as the former brought out his attacking shots. It was in the 11th over that things stepped into high gear, as he smacked Ishant for 14 runs, the last boundary a streaky four that Amit Mishra missed at backward point.

Spin was introduced in the 12th over as R Ashwin came on, but Blackwood went after him as well, smacking 10 runs off his second over.

Samuels continuously egged him on at the other end. He played some attacking shots as well, including a cut six off Umesh Yadav, though he was tight enough in his defence too.

It seemed as there was a continuous barrage of sixes, five of them coming in this first session of play, four from Blackwood alone as West Indies raced past the 50-mark in the 16th over despite their poor start.

Their 50-partnership had come off just 75 balls, and in doing so, Blackwood raced his seventh Test fifty off only 47 balls.

India didn't seem to have any answers to this assault, and both spinners had been introduced within 17 overs, with leg-spinner Mishra coming on to bowl as well. There were some interesting shouts against Blackwood, who lived dangerously.

And just when it seemed that West Indies had managed to sneak into the lunch break without any further loss, Ashwin trapped Blackwood leg before to bring an end to his entertaining stay at the crease.

The slide in the post-tea session began when Samuels, who was looking to adopt a positive approach, was fooled by Ashwin's flight lobbing a simple catch to KL Rahul short leg.

Six overs later, Shane Dowrich (5) edged behind to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha after being caught in two minds on whether to leave or play at the ball.

Jermaine Blackwood

IMAGE: Jermaine Blackwood hits out, on Day 1 of the second Test in Jamaica. Photograph: WICB Media Photo/Athelstan Bellamy

At the other end, Shami got rid of Chase, and he should have had Devendra Bishoo's scalp too. But the batsman twice got the benefit of doubt off successive deliveries in the 39th over.

However he didn't last long, before Ashwin trapped him into playing a sweep shot that leapt up in the air and was safely pouched by Shikhar Dhawan at short fine leg in the 44th over.

The off-spinner celebrated his second successive five-wicket haul in the series two overs later then, as Jason Holder (13) was out caught bat-pad at forward short leg.

At the stroke of tea, Amit Mishra (1-38) wrapped up the West Indies' innings, but not before Miguel Cummins (24 not out) and Shannon Gabriel (15) threw their bats around to add 38 runs for the last wicket.

The visitors further consolidated their position by reaching 126 for 1 and were only 70 runs short of the West Indies first innings score.

Opener Rahul (75 not out) coming in place of an injured Murli Vijay made full use of the opportunity as he not only looked compact but also scored runs at a fair clip.

Rahul's innings had 10 boundaries in 114 balls as he added 87 runs for the first wicket with a subdued Shikhar Dhawan (27) for the opening wicket.

Rahul took no time to get going as he punched a full delivery from Shannon Gabriel for a four down the ground in the first over of the innings. He hit a couple of fours off pacer Cummins through the covers that even draw the praise of former West Indian great Viv Richards, who was on commentary at the moment.

Rahul got a lifeline when he was put down at short midwicket by Bravo off Chase before the right-hander pulled Devendra Bishoo for a four to bring up his fifty, from 58 balls.

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