Ashwin torments West Indies again
Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin tormented the West Indies again to claim a second consecutive five-wicket innings haul and dismiss the home side for 196 at the stroke of tea on the opening day of the second Test in Kingston on Saturday.
Man of the match in the first Test in Antigua a week earlier, Ashwin followed up his haul of seven for 83 in the final innings at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium with five for 52 on a Sabina Park pitch offering turn and bounce from the first session of play.
He is now just the third Indian bowler to have five-wicket innings hauls in three consecutive Test matches after fellow spinners Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and current coach Anil Kumble.
Having ended the only substantial resistance from the home side when he dismissed Jermaine Blackwood for a run-a-ball 62 in the last over before the lunch interval, Ashwin added swiftly to his tally in the afternoon session.
He accounted for Marlon Samuels for 37 to a sharp catch at short-leg by Lokesh Rahul and followed up with the wickets of Shane Dowrich, Devendra Bishoo and captain Jason Holder in quick succession.
Blackwood and Samuels put on 81 for the fourth wicket in the morning with Blackwood the dominant partner, stroking seven fours and four sixes in his counter-attacking innings.
But it was not to be enough as the clatter of wickets resumed after he was trapped lbw by Ashwin.
Debutant Miguel Cummins heaved his way to an unbeaten 24 in an entertaining 38-run last-wicket stand with Shannon Gabriel before leg-spinner Amit Mishra ended the innings to put the seal on another efficient effort in the field by the visitors.
India were in control virtually from the start of the match after Holder’s decision to bat first on winning the toss as the West Indies slid to seven for three within 25 minutes of play.
Ishant Sharma removed Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo off successive deliveries in just his second over.
With a reputation of susceptibility to the short ball early in his innings clearly on the fast bowler’s mind, Brathwaite failed to negotiate a lifting delivery in Sharma’s second over and Cheteshwar Pujara held the simple catch at short-leg.
Bravo’s weakness outside the off-stump was then immediately capitalised upon, the left-hander failing to cover a full-length delivery properly for a delighted Indian captain Virat Kohli to take the catch at first slip.
Rajendra Chandrika, the other opener, then gave catching practice to Rahul at second slip as he guided a lifting delivery from Mohammed Shami unerringly into the hands of the fielder.
Rahul was an enforced change to the Indian lineup from the first Test triumph as opening batsman Murali Vijay was ruled out because of a thumb injury sustained in the lead-up to the match.
Cummins replaced all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite in the West Indies' only change to their team from the first Test.