Virat and Rohit power India to a strong position at the end of Day 1
After a decent first session for the opening pair, the two-time WTC finalists stumbled as they lost a few quick wickets between lunch and tea. However, the Indian cricket team is currently out of danger as Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja got their eyes in to build a solid partnership at Queen’s Park Oval.
The visitors were forced to make a change to the playing XI of the first test as Mukesh Kumar got to make his international debut with Shardul Thakur ruled out of the second test due to a sore left groin.
On the other hand, the West Indies made two changes as the hosts handed a debut to the 20-year old Kirk McKenzie in place of Raymon Reifer and the experienced Shannon Gabriel replaced Rahkeem Cornwall who was ruled out due to a chest infection.
Moreover, the Indian captain was presented with a plaque by Dr. Kishore Shallow and Brain Lara on the occasion of the 100th test between the two countries.
Following a brilliant batting display in the last match, Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal once again walked out to the pitch to open the batting. From the first ball, the Indian batters were on the front foot with the opening pair dominating the fast bowlers.
Sharma smashed Roach’s length delivery out of the boundary line with a pull shot in the 5th over for the first maximum of the match. Going on the same path as the skipper, Jaiswal also scored a streaky four and a flawless six in the next over against Joseph.
Despite early bowling changes, Windies couldn’t bowl a maiden over and India completed 50 runs in only 10.4 overs courtesy of two consecutive boundaries from Sharma against Gabriel. The opening pair continued the crisp batting as was easily finding openings and scoring a couple of boundaries after every few balls as no bowler was spared by the batters.
Thus, in the 17th over, when Sharma reached a personal score of 48 runs, he became the second fastest Indian after Virender Sehwag to complete 2000 runs as an opener in test cricket.
The Indian skipper completed his half-century with a maximum against Roach in the 19th over. Consequently, just after a couple of overs, Jaiswal also brought up his half-century with consecutive boundaries.
Both the batters were looking comfortable on the pitch but Jason Holder got Jaiswal to edge the ball to Alick Athanaze in the slip cordon but the batter dropped Jaiswal’s catch as the hosts almost drew first blood at the brink of lunch. At the time of lunch, India was at a score of 121 with no loss after 26 overs.
As the game restarted after lunch, the West Indies bowlers started bowling on a calculated length, especially Holder. As a result, he finally got rewarded in the 31st over when he dismissed last match’s centurion, Jaiswal at 57 runs as debutant McKenzie pouched the catch safely at backward point.
Shubman Gill arrived on the pitch at No.3 and he also looked troubled against the Windies bowlers. Consequently, Gill was again sent back to the pavilion on a low score of 10 runs after he got caught behind after edging a delivery bowled by Roach.
With the momentum on the side of the hosts, Warrican continued the onslaught as he went through the Indian skipper’s defense while he was trying to play a shot down the wicket. Rohit went back to the stands with 80 runs to his name.
Virat Kohli and India’s vice-captain, Ajinkya Rahane had a major role to play as their side lost wickets on quick successions. Kohli was slowly gaining confidence while Rahane wasn’t making any mistakes as the pair were dealing in singles and a few doubles to elongate the 4th wicket partnership.
After a couple of boundaries from Kohli, Rahane was also sent back to the pavilion by Gabriel as the experienced batter dragged the ball onto the wickets failing to manoeuver the short-pitch delivery.
Consequently, with India at 182 for the loss of four, it was time for the tea. As the match got underway again after the tea, Ravindra Jadeja joined Kohli in the middle and helped his side cross the 200-run mark.
However, playing his 500th international match, Kohli turned the tide in his side’s favor with some beautiful boundaries through the cover region. Thus, following the eminent display, the former Indian skipper became the first-ever batsman to score a half-century in his 500th game.
Jadeja was supporting Kohli very well and he was also scoring a couple of shots whenever he got the ball in his zone. Thus, focusing on singles and staying compact, Jadeja and Kohli completed their 100-run partnership in less than 28 overs.
Consequently, the first day ended with Virat Kohli at a score of 87 runs and Ravindra Jadeja unbeaten on 36 runs. It’s fair to say that the Windies got a relatively better start in the second test and the hosts will take the new ball in the first session on Day 2 which will be key for both sides as the play will resume at a score of 288 runs at the loss of four wickets.