After a devastating performance in the first test against the touring Indian side, the West Indies team hoped to make amends and step out into the 2nd test with a charged new frame of mindset. This was further backed by the selectors who made the aggressive decision to include the U-19 superstar of West Indies in Alzarri Joseph and the 25 year old Cummins, another fast bowler.
At the toss, West Indies were in luck and chose to bat first. The much hyped young fast bowler in Joseph was left out and Cummins was given a chance to present his skills on the international stage. Another major change was that of dropping Brathwaite and sticking with Blackwood – something that even surprised the great West Indies legend, Sir Viv Richards. Brathwaite made a 50 in the 2nd innings for West Indies in the first test and yet a drop is surprising.
The Indian team was forced to make one change i.e. to replace Murali Vijay who fractured his thumb, replaced by KL Rahul – someone who showed tremendous form in this year’s IPL.
The opening duo of K Brathwaite and Chandrika again misfired as the Indian pacer with fire in his belly to prove himself i.e. Ishant Sharma, grabbed 2 wickets in 2 balls and got Brathwaite and Bravo out. The very next over saw Mohammad Shami grabbing the wicket of Chandrika – West Indies opener whose average is just mere 25 in test cricket, something for the team to consider upon. Even before reaching 10 runs, 3 of West Indies top 3 batsman were back into the shed.
The duo of Samuels and Blackwood gave innings some much needed respectability as both of them put on a partnership of 81 runs before a shot too many busted Blackwood and got him out for a run-a-ball made 62, which included 7 fours and 4 sixes, getting out LBW to Ashwin.
The fall of Samuels also came at the hands of Ashwin, who got him caught at silly point – with a cheeky flighted delivery, making Samuels tempted to go for a big shot – a perfect spinner’s wicket. Samuels departed for 37 in 88 balls.
Once Samuels departed, the West Indies batting card had very little to show, apart from a few lower order batsman and tail-enders reaching double figures. The debutant in Cummins showed good resistance at the pitch with 24 in 25 balls, 2 fours and 2 sixes. The final West Indies tally reached to 196 all out in 52.3 overs.
The star for India with the ball was yet again the spin wizard in Ravichandran Ashwin – whose persisting quality line and length, with matched excellency of tempting the batsman and not shying away from flighted deliveries has delivered the goods for him – grabbing 5 wickets for 52 runs in his 16 overs. This 5 wicket haul marks Ashwin’s 18th in just 34 tests.
The Indian openers had around 40 overs to play out before the end of play and as expected, the pair of KL Rahul (replacing injured Murali Vijay) and Shikhar Dhawan were positive in their approach and hardly troubled by the West Indies pace line-up.
Rahul was making runs at the strike rate of 60, which for someone playing as a replacement for an opener shows impeccably positive mindset. Chase did manage to however get Dhawan out cheaply for 27 runs.
At the other end, Rahul reached to his fifty and was being supported in equal measures by India’s newly Mr.Dependable in Cheteshwara Pujara, who hung on until end of day’s play and ended day 1 at 18 runs off 57 balls. Rahul finished day 1 at 75 off 114 balls, inching closer to another test century outside of India.
India trail by 70 runs with 9 wickets in hand.