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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Ashwin spins India to victory with 12-wicket match haul


Ravichandran Ashwin was star player on Day 3 as his 7/71 in the second innings propelled India to hog the first Test match against West Indies at Windsor Park here on Friday.

Ashwin ended up with a match haul of 12/131 and ended up equalling Anil Kumble’s record of bagging 10-wicket haul for the eighth time. These figures helped India begin their WTC 2023-25 campaign in style by defeating the hosts by 141 runs.

After taking a sizeable lead of 271 and declaring the first innings at 415/5, India bundled out West Indies for 130 in their second innings. The hosts had made 150 runs in their first innings. This victory marked the biggest ever by India outside Asia.

Captain Rohit Sharma employed twin spinners in tandem after only four overs, and straight away they spelt magic on a turner with deliveries missing the edges of both West Indian openers.

Kraigg Brathwaite (7) was lucky as wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan failed to hold on to an edge off Ravindra Jadeja, but the tweaker trapped Tagenarine Chanderpaul (7)leg-before. The DRS however failed to come to his rescue as it was the umpire’s call.

Ashwin nearly had Raymon Reifer (11) at silly point, but sent back Brathwaite caught Ajinkya Rahane at the first slip after changing his angle by coming around the wicket.

Jermaine Blackwood (5) was lucky as the ball fell short of third slip after edging Jadeja’s ball. Reifer and Blackwood walked off for tea unscathed, but fell soon in post-tea session, leaving West Indies in deep predicament.

Blackwood was trapped leg-before of a sharp turner, but before West Indies lost a review. Reifer too opted for DRS after missing a flick off Jadeja to be out lbw.

India too lost a caught-behind review against Joshua Da Silva (13) off Jadeja, but the batsman did not last long. Mohammad Siraj trapped him plumb in front after Rohit brought him back into the attack.

Alick Athanaze, who had scored a splendid 47 in the first innings, showcased his class in the second dig too. He scored boundaries of AShwin after he was dropped by Yashashvi Jaiswal at short leg.

Athanaze (28) also cut and pulled Siraj, and then swept Ashwin for a boundary, but the off-spinner had the last laugh by forcing the West Indian batsman to edge a catch at short leg.

Alzarri Joseph (13) and Jason Holder (20) took West Indies past 100 mark in a counter-punch, clobbering a six apiece off Ashwin, but gave the offie his fourth wicket as he tried to clear the fence.

Ashwin hauled his second five-fer in the match by having Rakheem Corwall (4) caught at short leg and followed it by cleaning up Kemar Roach.

The match waded into extra time as India needed just a wicket for a victory, and Jomel Warrican (18) had some fun in the middle by striking a few boundarie, but was ultimately out to Ashwin trying to reverse sweep as India hit the last nail into Windies coffin.

Earlier, Jaiswal departed after scoring 171 runs after batting for three days and 387 balls. He was caught by Joshua trying to punch an Joseph delivery through cover.

Virat Kohli extended the lead with his 76 runs innings. Rahane (3) had a brief stay as he was caught at cover off Roach.

Kohli, on the flip side, was lucky as he was dropped twice, first Brathwaite put down at short cover off Wariccan in pre-lunch session, and the keeper Joshua did the same off Roach, intercepting the ball heading towards Rakheem at first slip in the second session.

Rakheem, who was allowed to resume bowling from the second session, had Kohli caught at leg slip with a ball that had extra bounce. The tall-burly off-spinner ws off the field for the majority of Day 2 due to a chest infection.

Debutant Kishan (1*) got his first Test run off the 20th ball by taking a single off Joseph.

Before India declared their innings, Kishan became a victim of Rohit’s anger for slow batting, making gestures to him and Ravindra Jadeja (37) to make quick runs. And it did not take much time for India to skittle out West Indies inside three days.

Brief scores: West Indies 150 (Alick Athanaze 47; R Ashwin 5-60, Ravindra Jadeja 3-26) & 130 (Alick Athanaze 28; R Ashwin 7-71, Ravindra Jadeja 2-38) lost to India India 421/5 decl. (Yashavi Jaiswal 171, Rohit Sharma 103, Virat Kohli 76; Rahkeem Cornwall 1-32) by an innings & 141 runs.

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