India inflict innings defeat on West Indies, take 1-0 series lead
North Sound (Antigua), July 25 (IANS) Star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin starred with a seven-wicket haul as India defeated West Indies by an innings and 92 runs on the fourth day of the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium here on Sunday.
Ashwin decimated the West Indies' middle and lower order after lunch to boast figures of 7/83. This was India's biggest margin of victory outside the sub-continent.
The Chennai off-spinner made good use of the conditions to extract appreciable turn from the pitch and was helped along by some poor application by the West Indies batsmen.
Carlos Braithwaite, who remained unbeaten on 51, was the highest scorer among the hosts.
Coming together with the hosts toterring at 132/8, Braithwaite and Devendra Bishoo (45) engaged in a desperate battle with the Indian bowlers as they sought to postpone defeat.
The duo displayed copious amounts of patience and application -- qualities sadly missing in their top order colleagues -- to frustrate the Indian bowlers for a long time and forge a 95-run partnership.
Bishoo even hit Ashwin over the mid-wicket boundary for a six a couple of overs before tea to offer some much needed cheer to the home crowd.
However, the hosts' heroic resistance suffered a rather tame end shortly after tea. Bishoo fell agonisingly short of a half-century when he offered a relatively tame catch to Cheteshwar Pujara at midwicket while trying to hoick a delivery by Ashwin.
Shannon Gabriel lasted all of three deliveries before being outfoxed by an Ashwin delivery that spun in sharply to hit the stumps as the visitors celebrated a well-deserved victory.
Earlier, the West Indies continued their battle during the rain-shortened morning session.
Opening batsman Rajendra Chandrika and Samuels forged a 67-run stand following the dismissal of Darren Bravo early in the morning.
The match was halted due to rain half an hour before the end of the first session, forcing an early lunch, as the West Indies, who were on Saturday bowled out for 243 in their first essay, were battling to avert an innings defeat.
Resuming the day at 21/1, the West Indies received a big blow in the first over of the day when left-handed overnight batsman Bravo edged an away-moving delivery from pacer Umesh Yadav to wide third slip fielder Ajinky Rahane, who dived low to his left to pluck a brilliant catch.
It was just the start the Virat Kohli-led visitors wanted and the wicket further boosted their confidence.
However, the home batting duo of Chandrika and Samuels came out with strong resistance to deny India any more wickets at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium.
While Chandrika was all about doggedness and determination as he played 84 deliveries for 22 not out, Samuels, 35, showed the way for the West Indies with attacking intent.
Samuels took the attack to the opposition and hit 11 boundaries among the 85 deliveries he faced.
Indian pacer Ishant Sharma tested him early with rising deliveries but he fended them with determination -- twice spanking them through the covers for fours.
Indian bowlers also made the fault of bowling much outside the off stump as Samuels and Chandrika found them comfortable.
Samuels produced an off-drive and a punch towards the covers of Mohammed Shami and later punished Ashwin with three fours in a single over, making the best use of experience and feet movement.