Ashwin and KL Rahul put India in cruise control

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© BCCI Media

Ashwin and KL Rahul put India in cruise control

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Amlan Majumdar


Ravichandran Ashwin's five-wicket haul in a magical spell of spin bowling helped India bundle out West Indies for 196 in the first innings, after the hosts won the toss and opted to bat first. KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan then got India off to a good start to make sure that they remain at the top.

Brief Scores: West Indies 196 all out in 52.3 overs (J Blackwood 62(62), M Samuels 37(88); R Ashwin 5/52, M Shami 2/23); India 126/1 in 37 overs (KL Rahul 75*(114), S Dhawan 27(52); RL Chase 1/28)

Jason Holder's decision to bat first on wicket which looked damp and had something on offer for the fast bowlers came as a surprise. The toss became inconsequential; Virat Kohli would have opted to bowl first anyway.

The home side were put on the back foot immediately with Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami getting the new ball to move under the overcast conditions. The duo ran through the top-order of West Indies, and by the sixth over, they had lost three wickets for only seven runs. Ishant removed Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo, while Shami picked up the wicket of Rajendra Chandrika.

Marlon Samuels and Jermaine Blackwood then produced a crucial 81-run partnership for their side, with Samuels curbing his natural attacking instincts to anchor the innings, while Blackwood attacked at the other end. The 24-year-old played a scintillating counter-attacking knock of 62 runs at a strike rate of 100. He hit four sixes in his innings, two of which came against Amit Mishra. Eventually, Ashwin trapped him in front of the wicket to break what was a worrisome partnership for the visitors.

After Blackwood's dismissal, West Indies began to lose wickets at regular intervals once again as Ashwin weaved a web of magic with the ball. Miguel Cummins and Shannon Gabriel showed some resistance for the last wicket, putting on 38 runs to take the total to 196, before Mishra removed the later.

West Indies pacers were expected to extract a lot out of the track as well with the new ball. However, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan got India off to a perfect start with an 87-run opening stand. Rahul was the main contributor in that partnership, as he hit 10 boundaries in a knock of 75 not out. Roston Chase dismissed Dhawan in the 19th over, but Cheteshwar Pujara, along with Rahul, made sure that India ended the day on top.

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