Ashwin inspires India to an innings and 141-run win against the West Indies with two days remaining
The Indian cricket team ambushed the West Indies on the third day of the first taking place at Windsor Park. Stellar performances from Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ravichandran Ashwin helped the Men in Blue grasp the win by an innings and 141 runs.
At the end of day two, India was at a score of 312 at a loss of two with debutant Yashasvi Jaiswal at a magnificent score of 143 runs while Virat Kohli was standing strong at 36 runs.
The third day got underway with Jason Holder and Jomel Warrican continuing to keep it tight and stopped the excessive run-flow but Jaiswal soon switched gears with a flawless boundary down the ground and brought up his 150 later in the same over.
In the 119th over, the West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite dropped Kohli’s catch at short cover and the left-arm spinner looked visibly irritated. Yashasvi Jaiswal looked unbothered by the bowlers and continued the onslaught with a four against Joseph and a six against Warrican bringing up 350 runs for the Indian cricket team.
However, in the next over, the magnificent innings was brought to an end after Alzarri Joseph hampered Jaiswal’s concentration with a length ball and the southpaw edged it to Joshua Da Silva standing behind the stumps.
Ajinkya Rahane came to bat next as Kohli also reached close to his half-century. However, Rahane’s time on the pitch was quite short-lived as Kemar Roach dismissed the Indian vice-captain on his first ball of the third day. The 35-year-old failed to get along with the speed of the ball and ended up chipping the ball straight to Blackwood at cover.
In the 131st over, Kohli completed his 29th half-century as the former Indian skipper was playing conservatively with singles but new batter Ravindra Jadeja didn’t take a step back and smashed a maximum against Alick Athanaze in his first over of the day. Desperate for a wicket, the Windies were making bowling changes quickly but the visitors were at ease as Kohli and Jadeja were dealing in eye-catching boundaries.
As the Indian team reached a total of 400, it was time for lunch with Kohli at 72 and the fans expected him to capitalize on the opportunity into another test century but Rahkeem Cornwall was quick to send back the former Indian skipper as Kohli’s shot was caught by Athanaze at leg slip shortly after the restart.
Thus, Ishan Kishan joined Jadeja after Kohli’s departure. Both left-handed batters were trying to add a few more runs to the tally as Rohit Sharma hinted toward the declaration from the dressing room and soon, India declared on a score of 421/5 after Kishan scored his first run in test cricket.
Kraigg Brathwaite and Tangerine Chanderpaul were expected to give their side a decent start as the openers once again negated the threat of the seamers and spin was introduced in only the fifth over. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were not letting the opening pair score big and Jadeja managed to draw the first blood by dismissing Chanderpaul via the LBW.
Brathwaite’s resistance soon came to an end as Ashwin picked his sixth wicket of the match dismissing the skipper with Rahane pouching the ball in the slip cordon. Thus, with Jermaine Blackwood and Raymon Reifer on the pitch after 18 overs, it was time for tea.
Live action in the third session resumed with a boundary by Reifer in Ravindra Jadeja’s last ball of the first over after tea. On the other hand, Ashwin was trapping batters continuously with his spin as Blackwood became his second victim in the second innings and wasted a review as well after a straightforward LBW call.
In the next over, Jadeja also took down Reifer with the third LBW dismissal of the innings as the Windies wasted another review which was a usual sight throughout the first test match.
Although, the hosts lost four early wickets, Athanaza and Joshua de Sliva looked unbothered to an extent scoring boundaries for their side. In the 25th over, a chance to dismiss Athanaza went begging as a tough catch was dropped by Jaiswal while fielding at short leg.
With Athanaze and De Silva playing at strike rates of more than 50 against spin at the 28th over, skipper Sharma was forced to re-introduce Siraj and the decision paid off immediately as the wicket-keeper batter was trapped in front of the wicket and decided not to take the last available review.
Athanaza was performing well with boundaries here and there, but his effort also ended with Ashwin’s slower delivery, which was caught sharply by debutant Jaiswal at short leg making up for his earlier mistake.
Thus, after 37 overs, the Windies reached a total of 80 for a loss of six wickets. Despite trailing by a massive deficit, the Windies batters were not shy of scoring big hits. Playing against Ashwin, Joseph and Holder smashed maximums to achieve the milestone of 100 runs for the hosts. However, the experienced Indian spinner took the perfect revenge as he dismissed Joseph with Shubman Gill taking the catch at deep mid-wicket.
Nevertheless, Holder and Cornwall were still breathing life into the match before Ashwin bowled the 47th over. Talking the wickets of Cornwall and Kemar Roach in the same over, he relinquished all the hopes of the Windies to carry the match to the fourth day.
With nine wickets down and the play extended by 30 minutes to get a result on the third day, Warrican decided to take the matter into his own hands. The tail-ender scored three adventurous boundaries even bringing out a successful reverse-sweep shot from his arsenal stunning the likes of Ashwin and Jadeja who were direly trying to bring an end to the match.
After an entertaining barrage of runs and boundaries, Ashwin struck his seventh wicket as Warrican tried another reverse sweep but failed to connect with the ball and was the last man to go back to the pavilion for the disappointed Windies side. With that wicket, Ashwin recorded his best-ever figures of 7/70 in an overseas test taking a total of 12 wickets, his eighth ten-wicket haul, equalling the tally of the legendary Anil Kumble.
Once again, Holder proved to be a pillar in the lower order as he was the only batter to face 50 deliveries in both innings of the match staying unbeaten till the end in the second innings and would be hoping for more support from the lower middle-order batters in the second test match of the series.
Yashasvi Jaiswal was named the Player of the Match for his magnificent century and India will be facing West Indies in the second match of the test series set to be played at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago Thursday onwards.