RAJKOT, India – On a track that generously accommodated India slamming 649 for nine declared, West Indies then batted woefully to be reduced to 94 for 6 on the first day of the first Test at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium
India dominated throughout with captain Virat Kohli striking his 24th Test hundred and Ravindra Jadeja his first, as the Caribbean side left themselves with an enormous task of saving the opening Test after only the second day.
The right-handed Kohli stroked a high-quality 139 to add to 18-year-old opener Privthi Shaw’s 134 from Thursday’s opening day, an innings which helped power the hosts to their highest ever total against West Indies.
Jadeja hit exactly 100 not out while wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant missed out on three figures with 92, as West Indies bowlers toiled without much success on a chastening day.
Leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo picked up a four-wicket haul but leaked 217 runs from a marathon 54-over spell while debutant fast bowler Sherman Lewis ended with two for 93.
Left with the final session to navigate, West Indies made a mess of their reply as seamer Mohammed Shami (2-11) made key strikes to put in train the Windies’ demise.
Only right-hander Roston Chase, unbeaten on 27, showed any enterprise as wickets tumbled around him, leaving the Windies still trailing by a mammoth 555 runs heading into Saturday’s third day.
Needing a solid performance after being kept in the field for the first two sessions, West Indies experienced a nightmare start when captain Kraigg Brathwaite’s (2) off-stump was sent cartwheeling by Mohammed Shami in the third over after the right-hander was late on a defensive jab.
Kieran Powell followed for one in Mohammed Shami’s next over, lbw playing across a full-length delivery, as the Windies slipped further at seven for one in the fifth over.
Shai Hope struck a couple of lovely punches down the ground for boundaries but he played down the wrong line to one from off-spinner Ravi Ashwin and was bowled for 10 at 21 for three, and exciting left-hander Shimron Hetmyer was tragically run out for 10 in the 12th over after he and Sunil Ambris (12) found themselves stranded in the same crease.
Ambris, back in the squad for the first time in 10 months, lasted just 20 balls before edging an extravagant drive at left-arm spinner Jadeja to Ajinkya Rahane at slip.
Chase, batting at number six, then attempted to halt the slide in a 25-run, sixth-wicket stand with wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich (10) – the best stand of the innings so far.
Showing a penchant for counter-attack, Chase struck four fours – mostly lofted hits down the ground – in a breezy 38-ball knock while Dowrich was more watchful in his 35-ball innings.
But with the day drifting towards a close, Dowrich was lured into an injudicious drive at left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav and was bowled, with the ball clipping the top of off-stump.
Tail-ender Keemo Paul, in only his second Test, bludgeoned a four and a six in an unbeaten 13 to see West Indies to the close.
India had earlier turned the screws on the Windies after resuming the day on 364 for four, with Kohli becoming the second fastest batsman in history to reach 24 Test hundreds, after the iconic Sir Don Bradman.
All told, the right-hander faced 230 balls and counted 10 fours, posting his fourth triple figure score this year and moving into fourth place on the all-time list of India century-makers.
Significantly, he extended his fifth wicket stand with Pant to 133, helping to put India in total command at lunch on 506 for five.
Pant, a 21-year-old left-hander in only his fourth Test, played with abandon, striking eight fours and four sixes off a mere 84 balls, before perishing about 45 minutes before the interval.
Kohli, unbeaten overnight on 72, reached his landmark inside the second hour with a boundary to fine leg off Bishoo, and reached the break on 120.
He had extended his sixth-wicket stand with Jadeja to 64 when he departed in the sixth over after the resumption, clipping Lewis to Bishoo at mid-on.
West Indies then enjoyed their best period, claiming three wickets for 37 runs as India stumbled at 571 for eight. However, any hopes of quickly wrapping up the innings were dashed by Jadeja who belted five fours and five sixes in a 132-ball innings, to frustrate the Windies.
He put on 55 for the ninth wicket with Umesh Yadav (22) before the declaration came at tea.