Alick Athanaze was the only bright spot for West Indies on a day of dominance by the visitors.
West Indies 150 (Athanaze 47, Ashwin 5-60, Jadeja 3-26) are ahead of India at 80 for 0 (Jaiswal 40*, Rohit 30*) by 70 runs. On the first day of the first Test at Windsor Park, R Ashwin’s 33rd five-wicket haul in Test cricket, he helped India dismiss West Indies for just 150. At the same time, an unbroken opening partnership of 80 runs between Rohit Sharma and debutant Yashasvi Jaiswal further solidified India’s control of the game. After being left out of the World Test Championship final, Ashwin was reinstated to the playing XI. He dismissed Tagenarine Chanderpaul and Kraigg Brathwaite in the first session, Alzarri Joseph and debutant Alick Athanaze in the second session, and Jomel Warrican to end the innings. As per usual, Ravindra Jadeja provided solid assistance by contributing three wickets. The only West Indies batsman to make an effort was 24-year-old Athanaze. He had the joint-fastest half-century ever on his ODI debut last month. The left-hander demonstrated on Wednesday that he also had the temperament to play Test cricket. Athanaze batted with prudence and aggression as wickets fell all around him, but his stay ended when he top-edged a pull against Ashwin and was out for 47.
When India first stepped out to bat, Rohit did most of the initial scoring, while it took Jaiswal 16 balls to get his first run. The left-hander started the game by slashing Joseph over backward point for four, and as the inning went on, he began to score more frequently. By day’s end, he had outperformed his skipper. Rahkeem Cornwall and Warrican, two West Indies spinners, found turn, but Rohit and Jaiswal had little difficulty handling them because the pitch had slowed down considerably by that point. Even better, Jaiswal reverse-swept Warrican for four runs in the final over of the day. Brathwaite chose to bat first after winning the toss earlier on a pitch with a lot of moisture. In one over, Mohammed Siraj used movement off the surface to beat Brathwaite’s outside edge three times, but he also frequently drifted to the leg side. Jaydev Unadkat was far more organized than the other bowlers, bowling two maidens and allowing only four runs in his opening four overs. As early as the ninth over, Ashwin was added to the attack. He found Chanderpaul’s inside edge with his very first ball, but the ball went over short leg. But the offspinner couldn’t be stopped for long. Ashwin got the ball to settle around the middle stump in his third over by straying outside the crease while standing near the wicket. The ball twisted just enough to miss the outside edge and struck the top of the off as Chanderpaul attempted to defend on the front foot. Ashwin, who previously dismissed Shivnarine Chanderpaul four times, became the fifth bowler to dismiss a father-son duo in a Test match.
Ashwin continued around the wicket and removed Brathwaite as well.
Ashwin continued around the wicket and removed Brathwaite as well. The skipper of the West Indies attempted to loft him over mid-on but instead skyed it to Rohit Sharma at extra cover. Raymon Reifer was caught behind in Shardul Thakur’s first over thanks to a low catch by rookie Ishan Kishan, bringing the score to 47 for 3. Jermaine Blackwood may have also been in his possession, but the leading edge just eluded a diving Shubman Gill at cover. However, Blackwood misplayed Jadeja on the final ball before lunch, sending him to the right of mid-off, where Mohammed Siraj leaped into the air and took a one-handed stunner behind his body. Soon after noon, Joshua Da Silva became Jadeja’s second victim. The wicketkeeper-batter attempted to cut Jadeja, but there wasn’t enough room, and Kishan caught the outside edge. Ashwin also produced a spectacular spin in the second session that troubled Holder and Athanaze. However, the pair should have noticed occasional loose deliveries. Both players took the aerial path without hesitation, adding 41 runs for the sixth wicket to push West Indies over the century mark.
Holder fell into a Siraj-set short-ball trap, shattering the stand. The bowler slammed one into the pitch, and Holder tugged it right into deep-backward square leg’s grasp. Athanaze took his eyes off the ball and was struck by Siraj with a bouncer a few overs later on the tip of the helmet. Alzarri Joseph, inserted before Rahkeem Cornwall, could only manage four before Ashwin got him at short third, but Athanaze was on pace to reach fifty. Ashwin could go there with a boundary when he bowled a fastball. In the morning session, Athanaze had obtained a similar delivery from Ashwin for four runs, but he should have handled the delivery this time. With West Indies eight down, Cornwall struck Ashwin for two fours in the first ball following tea. Still, Kemar Roach and Warrican were out for just 25 minutes into the fourth session after being dismissed by Jadeja and Ashwin, respectively.
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