WI v IND, 2nd Test, Day 1 Review: Ravichandran Ashwin and KL Rahul take India on top

India’s opening batsmen Lokesh Rahul (L) and Shikhar Dhawan (R) gesture with each other. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Jamaica was no different than Antigua as India began on a dominating note yet again in the 2nd Test against West Indies. West Indies who chose to bat first on a lively moist pitch were toppled for just 196 in the first innings. Batting looked tough when the hosts were in the middle as Ravichandran Ashwin (5/52) secured his 18th five-wicket haul of his career.

The venue, which has a strong reputation of being a highly result oriented ground, supported the Indian pace bowling duo of Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma who made most of the early morning moist, extracting good swing and bounce to reduce the Windies to 7/3.


Ishant and Shami’s opening spell was really tough for the West Indies batsmen to cope. The ball swung and seamed and the bounce was unpredictable. Kraigg Brathwaite and Rajendra Chandrika would know it better than anyone else as they found it really difficult to deal with the sharp rib-level in-swingers from the Sharma.

It didn’t take long for India to get their first breakthrough of the day. Sharma made good use to the invariable bounce to create doubt in the mind of Brathwaite eventually forcing him to fend one to Pujara and mark his dismissal. Sharma extended Dwayne Bravo’s bad run by one more innings after he snapped the left-hander with a beautiful away swinger off the very next delivery. The almost perfect seam position was a delight. Sharma couldn’t get his hattrick as Samuels easily negotiated the next delivery.

Also, read – Twitter Reactions: India gain upper hand on Day 1, courtesy of Ashwin and KL Rahul

Shami efforts also paid off shortly after he reduced the opposition to three down in with the first ball of the sixth over. In the very next over Sharma nearly got his third when Samuels was almost done by and in-swinging length ball which luckily didn’t carry to the short midwicket after hitting the pads. The dampness of wicket made batting look very difficult and the batting order suddenly looked crumbling.

But, then emerged an unlikely savior Jermaine Blackwood who came in and smashed a quick run a ball 62 and put up 81 for the 4th wicket with Marlon Samuels. The right-hander who registered a pair in the last match got off the mark with a boundary off a lofted drive over the point region.

It was a strange way to start with when the team was in a bit of trouble. But, he seemed determined and played a counter-attacking knock to rescue his team out of dire times. His 62 ball stay in the middle was the most satisfying thing for West Indies on day one.

Kohli continued with both his fast bowlers who mixed their length well, bowling at the driving length and occasionally bumping the shorter ones. Blackwood, however, had come with a single-minded approach and began dealing in fours prompting Kohli to introduce Aswin into the attack.

There was no immediate success for the champion bowlers too as Blackwood dealt with him with the same amount of aggression. Soon, it was spin from the both sides but the result was the same before Ashwin finally began making inroads.

But, Ashwin after getting belted for some began his party after he got rid of Blackwood in the 26th over and then added Samuels to his tally in his next over. The lower middle couldn’t make any huge difference as Ashwin completed his fifer with the wickets Holder (13), Bishoo (12) and Shane Dowrich (5). Debutants Miguel Cummins contributed an unbeaten 24 run but even that couldn’t help the total go past the 200 runs mark as the host got bundled out for just 196.

Batting seemed to be a challenge considering the way the hosts batted in the first innings. But, the scene was completely different when KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan came out to bat. The new pair batted smoothly to take India to a dominant position before Dhawan lost his wicket when India was on 89. KL Rahul batted with absolute ease and stayed unbeaten on 75 with Cheteshwar Pujara who was batting at 6.

Brief Scores:

West Indies: 196 all out (Jermaine Blackwood 62; Ravichandran Ashwin 5/52)

India: 126/1 (KL Rahul 75; Roston Chase 1/28)

India trail by 70 runs with 9 wickets remaining in the 1st innings