Ashwin’s fifer helps India bundle out West Indies on Day 1 in Dominica

Ravichandran Ashwin and Virat Kohli celebrate on Day 1 after picking up a wicket

After another WTC Final heartbreak, the Indian team dished out the perfect response as they bundled out West Indies for a total of 150 runs in the first innings on Day 1 of the first Test in Dominica. 

Ravichandran Ashwin, who missed the final in June, made a splendid comeback into the side by picking up five wickets. His bowling partner and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja also picked up three crucial wickets.

West Indies had a massive advantage after winning the toss as they opted to bat first and the opening pair of skipper Kraigg Brathwaite and Tagenarine Chanderpaul negated the opening attack of seamers Mohammed Siraj and Jaydev Unadkat. 

The duo put up 31 runs for the opening stand, the second-highest partnership between the Windies batters before the Ashwin storm hit the hosts. The experienced off-spinner broke through Tagenarine Chanderpaul’s defense and sent him packing in the 13th over. By doing so, Ashwin became the first Indian bowler and the fifth overall to dismiss a father-son duo in international cricket.

Soon after Chanderpaul, Brathwaite also went back to the pavilion giving away his wicket to the wily off-spinner. The WI captain was playing well with some delightful strokes but couldn’t continue his good touch and skied the ball straight to Rohit Sharma ending his personal score at only 20 runs. Bringing the off-spinner early in the innings proved to be an advantage for the visitors on a rough pitch of Windsor Park.

The middle-order players Raymon Reifer and Jermaine Blackwood got out cheaply on scores of 2 and 14 runs respectively. While Reifer was sent back by Shardul Thakur, thanks to Ishan Kishan’s superb low catch behind the stumps, Blackwood was dismissed by Jadeja with another brilliant catch, this time by Siraj at mid-off. The one-handed stunner from the fast bowler was one of the main highlights of the day.

Alick Athanaze in action on Day 1 of the first Test in Dominica

After Jadeja dismissed Joshua De Silva early in the second session of the day, the spectators witnessed a solid partnership between debutant Alick Athanaze and former skipper Jason Holder as the two stitched a 41-run partnership for their side hitting the Indian bowlers for multiple boundaries. 

Siraj’s re-introduction ended Holder’s sensible innings of 18 runs off 61 deliveries and the promoted Alzarri Joseph was also sent packing by Ashwin after a brief innings of 4 runs off 11 balls.

Alick Athanaze was the lone warrior for the hosts as the southpaw played a fine innings of 47 runs for his side. He got some good support from Holder from the other end but that was not enough for the team to put a good total on the board. The left-handed batter was closing in on a half-century on his test debut but nerves got the better of him as he mistimed the ball straight to Thakur at mid-wicket.

The returning Rahkeem Cornwall marked a good comeback to test cricket with some valuable runs at the end via three beautiful boundaries but Kemar Roach and Jomel Warrican couldn’t hold the other and were dismissed by Jadeja and Ashwin respectively. The wicket of Warrican helped Ashwin get his 33rd fifer in Test cricket. Siraj and Thakur got one wicket each, whereas Jadeja picked up three wickets.

The hosts were not competitive at all and played some careless shots throughout their innings, however, the Indian batting started on a terrific note. Debutant Yashasvi Jaiswal is unbeaten at a score of 40 runs with the help of six boundaries. It was completely a different game for him and the way he played his shots did seem like he was coming from the IPL. 

On the other hand, Rohit Sharma is currently batting at 30 and would like to convert his innings into a big one. The Indian skipper has scored three boundaries and a maximum so far and would want to keep hitting on Day 2 as well.

The Windies’ bowlers looked ordinary on Day 1 with no wickets for them, however, one can expect some good spin on Day 2 which might trouble the Indian batsmen with Cornwall and Warrican holding the key for the hosts. On the flip, the visitors would look to post a big total on the board so that they don’t need to bat again in this Test. A total of 400+ runs would really help them win the game by an innings.