Home Comforts: India crush West Indies inside three days for biggest win
By Bharat Sharma
(Eds: Rephrasing intro and adding Kohli quotes)
Rajkot, Oct 6 (PTI) India recorded their biggest Test win as they humiliated West Indies by an innings and 272 runs in the first match here Saturday, wrapping up one of the most ludicrous mismatches of recent times without breaking a sweat.
India dominated the game, amassing 649 for nine in their first innings before bowling out the West Indies twice on day three, to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
They were bundled out for 181 in 48 overs before lunch and were expectedly forced to follow-on. They did not fare any better in the second innings, crumbling to 196 all out in 50.5 overs in the final session.
Previously, the innings and 262-run win over Afghanistan in June this year was India's best in terms of innings victory.
While Ravichandran Ashwin (4/37) was the pick of the bowlers in the morning, Kuldeep Yadav (5/57) was all over the opposition batsmen in the second innings on way to a maiden five-wicket haul in Tests.
The feat makes Yadav the first player to have a five-wicket haul in all three formats of the game.
The second and final Test will be played in Hyderabad from October 12-16. The West Indies will have to lift themselves to put up a better performance after being thoroughly outplayed in Rajkot. The absence of captain Jason Holder and pacer Kemar Roach also added to their woes.
For India, the game will be best remembered for the emergence of Prithvi Shaw, who announced his arrival in international cricket with a classy hundred on debut, becoming the youngest from the country to do so in Tests. Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja were the other centurions.
By tea on Saturday, it became clear that the game will be done and dusted inside three days with the West Indies batsmen cutting a sorry picture at 185 for eight.
Opener Kieran Powell was the only West Indian batsmen to make a significant contribution in the second essay, an entertaining 83 off 93 balls with eight boundaries and four sixes.
India skipper Virat Kohli said after the win: "We understand that with the ability we have, we will dominate in these conditions. We were very clinical. It's not something for to speak on (West Indies' performance). I'm sure they'll sort out the errors.
"We don't want to focus on what the opposition does. I'm happy we were clinical."
Ashwin was their main tormentor in the morning and in the afternoon it was Kuldeep's turn to dominate. The opposition batsmen, who needed to bat for time, seemed to be in a hurry to finish the game. Punishing a loose ball is fine but they went for far too many strokes and paid the price for their recklessness.
Kuldeep thrived on that, mixing it up nicely to fox the batsmen. After he trapped Shai Hope in front for his first wicket, he removed the highly-rated Shimron Hetmyer who went for a wild slog across the line to be caught at short third man. He used his googly to send back Sunil Ambris, who stepped out without having any idea of the way the ball will turn.
In the morning session, Ashwin produced a brilliant spell as India enforced the follow-on.
At lunch, the West Indies were 33 for one in nine overs in their second innings with Ashwin removing skipper Kraigg Brathwaite (10) for his fourth wicket of the day.
The West Indies, resuming their first innings at 94 for six, lasted only an hour and 10 minutes, mainly due to efforts of Roston Chase (53) and Keemo Paul (47) who ended up sharing a 73-run stand. Ashwin ran through the tail on a pitch offering plenty of turn, ending with four for 37 in 11 overs as the West Indies were all out in 48 overs.
India started with the spin-pace combination of Kuldeep and Mohammad Shami. Surprisingly, Chase and Paul had little difficulty in picking the chinaman, who bowled the first over the day. Paul went on the offensive straightaway, sweeping Kuldeep for two crisp boundaries.
Paul was the aggressor in the partnership but Chase also came up with a few attractive shots.
Paul was comfortable against Kuldeep but had issues dealing with the short ball. Umesh Yadav set the West Indian up nicely before getting rid of him with a perfectly placed bouncer as he mistimed a pull to be caught at midwicket.
Ashwin then removed Chase with a beauty, a flighted ball that turned in viciously to create a big gap between bat and pad before crashing into the stumps, leaving the West Indies at 159 for eight. Number 10 and 11 were easy meat for Aswhin who sent them back with the away turning ball.
India expectedly enforced the follow-on with less than an hour to go for lunch