RAJKOT, India – A familiar capitulation saw West Indies lose 14 wickets in just over two sessions, as India romped to an emphatic innings and 272-run victory inside three days of the opening Test here Saturday to record their largest-ever win in Tests.
Resuming their first innings on 94 for six at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, West Indies were dismissed for 181, nearly three-quarters of an hour before lunch, with Roston Chase converting his overnight 27 into a top score of 53 and tail-ender Keemo Paul hitting an aggressive 47.
Forced to follow on, West Indies stumbled to lunch on 33 for one and then suffered another collapse thereafter, to be bowled out for 196 – about 20 minutes after tea.
Left-handed opener Kieran Powell hit an attacking 83 while Chase chipped in with 20 but the Indian spinners weaved a web around the tourists, further extending their 24-year wait for a victory on Indian soil.
Kuldeep Yadav snatched five for 57 while fellow left-arm spinner Ravi Jadeja picked up three for 35, with off-spinner Ravi Ashwin, who bowled the new ball, finished with two for 71.
Once India had piled up 649 for nine declared in their first innings on Friday, the game became one of survival for the Windies but they lacked the resolve to push the contest into a fourth day, as the gulf between the two sides was cruelly exposed.
The tourists were handed some hope at the start of the day, however, when Chase and Paul extended their seventh wicket stand to 73.
Paul, in only his second Test, proved the aggressor, smashing seven fours and two sixes off just 47 deliveries, after resuming the day on 13.
Chase, too, remained positive, moving into the 40s with two leg-side boundaries off Kuldeep before raising his sixth Test half-century with another two boundaries off the same bowler a few overs later.
Paul looked a good bet for his maiden half-century when he failed to keep down a pull at pacer Umesh Yadam and top-edged a catch to mid-wicket.
Chase followed with 12 runs added, bowled off the inside edge, attempting to drive Ashwin and in the same over, debutant Sherman Lewis played back and was also bowled by one he mis-read.
The right-handed Chase faced 79 deliveries and counted eight fours.
When Shannon Gabriel was stumped off Ashwin, the Windies were facing a massive deficit of 468 runs and requiring nothing short of a miracle to save the game.
There was no such divine intervention, however, and when Kraigg Brathwaite turned Ashwin into Prithvi Shaw’s waiting hands at short leg with one over to go before lunch, the Windies were sliding again at 32 for one.
Powell resorted to aggression in an excellent counter-attacking knock, facing 93 balls and hammering eight fours and four sixes.
He put on 47 for the second wicket with Shai Hope who made 17 and a further 41 for the fifth wicket with Chase.
Hope again flattered to deceive, notching a four and a six – the latter a straight hit off Ashwin – before misjudging the length of one from Kuldeep and falling lbw on the back foot.
A slide then followed with three wickets falling for 18 runs in the space of 23 balls to leave the Windies tottering on 97 for four.
Shimron Hetmyer’s (11) ill-judged heave at Kuldeep resulted in a catch at short third man and without a run added three balls later in the same over, Sunil Ambris was completely up-ended by one that bounced for Rishabh Pant to complete a smart stumping.
Powell, unbeaten on 21 at lunch, carried the fight to India. He cleared the ropes at long on with Ashwin immediately after the interval and stroked Umesh Yadav to the long off boundary to move into the 40s.
He reached his third Test half-century by steering Kuldeep to the third man boundary and continued to dominate by hitting the same bowler for a straight six a few overs later.
Chase, who faced 24 balls and struck three fours, also tried to be positive but fell to a soft dismissal when he drove Kuldeep to Ashwin at cover, in the third over following the drinks break.
Powell, meanwhile, had just slapped Kuldeep to the cover boundary when he failed to keep down a prod at the next ball and was caught by Shaw close in, triggering the final collapse which saw the last five wickets go down for 55 runs.