Roseau (Dominica): The world’s top-ranked bowler R Ashwin was too good for an ill-equipped West Indies batting line-up as his second five-wicket haul of the game set up India’s innings and 141-run victory in the opening Test here on Friday.
After India declared their first innings at 421 for five midway into the afternoon session, an improved batting show was expected from the Caribbean batters but they were simply not up to the task and collapsed to 130 all out in 50 overs to ensure a three-day finish.
Ashwin followed his 33rd five-wicket haul in the first innings with envious figures of seven for 71 in 21.3 overs, his best in an overseas Test.
India’s big win was also set up by Yashasvi Jaiswal who made a sublime 171 on debut. Virat Kohli contributed with 76 off 182 but it was not among his fluent knocks as he had to work extremely hard for his runs and was even dropped twice along the way.
The second and final Test starts in Port of Spain, Trinidad, from July 20. India, who have not lost a Test to West Indies since 2002, will be expected to complete a clean sweep and pick up crucial points in the World Test Championship.
The writing was on the wall when the West Indies were reduced to 32 for four in their second innings.
With the conditions resembling the slow and dry tracks of India, Rohit Sharma introduced spin as early as the fifth over.
West Indies slipped to 27 for two in 19 overs at tea with Ashwin and Jadeja removing Kraigg Brathwaite (7) and Tagenarine Chanderpaul (7) respectively.
Jadeja trapped Chanderpaul in front with the one that turned from middle stump and DRS showed it was clipping the top of his leg-stump. Brathwaite had little clue on what the skilful Ashwin was up to as he edged a straighter one to Ajinkya Rahane at first slip.
The only West Indies batter who looked assured in the middle was debutant Alick Athanaze (28 off 44), who was not afraid to sweep Ashwin before unleashing a square cut and a pull off Mohammed Siraj. The talented southpaw was eventually caught at short leg by Jaiswal off Ashwin in the 37th over.
India declared an hour after lunch and it seemed they were waiting for debutant Ishan Kishan to get his first run which took 20 balls. The visitors batted for as many as 152.2 overs in their first innings, scoring at a run rate of 2.76 for a massive 271-run lead.
Kohli was the lone India batter to be dismissed after lunch. After being dropped in the first over post the break, Kohli did not last long as he fell into the trap laid by offie Rahkeem Cornwall. The burly spinner got one to bounce from middle stump and Kohli ended up flicking to the waiting leg slip fielder.
In the morning, Jaiswal became only the third Indian to score 150 on debut while Kohli had to toil for a half-century as the visitors reached 400 for four at lunch.
Resuming the day at 312 for two, India managed 88 runs in 29 overs in the morning session for the loss of Jaiswal (171) and Ajinkya Rahane (3).
The Indian batters had to work for their runs on a slow pitch offering a lot of turn and a heavy outfield. Kohli celebrating after hitting a rare boundary was proof of that.
Left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican opened the bowling alongside Holder and instantly created issues for Kohli. The former India skipper got a life when he was dropped on 40 by West Indies captain Brathwaite. Kohli went for a drive off Warrican and Brathwaite ended up grassing an easy chance at cover.
At the other end, Jaiswal stepped out to Warrican and dispatched him for a straight six. He became the third Indian to reach 150 on debut with a single, matching the feats of Shikhar Dhawan (187) and Rohit Sharma (177).
A double hundred was in the offing for Jaiswal but it wasn’t to be as he edged one that angled away from Alzarri Joseph.
Soon after Rahane, who had a good opportunity to make a big impact, attempted a drive on the up on a slow pitch off Kemar Roach and ended up offering a simple catch at cover.
With Rahkeem Cornwall not allowed to bowl in the morning as he did not take the field on day two, the West Indies offered some easy boundaries to India towards the end of the session.