Ashwin Skittles Windies: Biggest Test Win for India Overseas
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Team India was deemed favorite for the series even before it started and the first test match in Antigua played out perfectly to the script. The inexperience of the West Indies team did them in. The match was a complete mismatch of sorts as the West Indies crumbled on a flat track in both the innings while India batted and bowled like the masters giving themselves their biggest win outside Asia, by an innings and 92 runs.
India dominated from day 1 of the match as Shikhar Dhawan walked back into form with a gritty knock of 84 while the skipper Virat Kohli continued to make the most of his purple patch with yet another unbeaten century on day 1 which he later converted into his career’s first double century. R Ashwin, who was promoted up the order made his 3rd century against the West Indies to pile up a mountain of runs for the Windies to climb. Amit Mishra smashed a half century in the closing stages of the innings much to the agony of the inexperienced West Indies bowling. India finally declared at 566 for 8.
The score may suggest a run feast but it was not as if the Indian batsmen just ran over the Windies bowling. There were chances where the West Indies could have closed on and put India on the backfoot. Shannon Gabriel bowled really well upfront and got the big wicket of Murli Vijay with an unplayable bouncer quite early. Even Cheteshwar Pujara went early to leave India at 74 for 2. At that stage, had another wicket gone down, it would have been a different story. The West Indies bowling did not have enough teeth to trouble the Indian batsmen on a flat pitch. Ajinkya Rahane did not trouble the scorers much and it was then that Ashwin joined Virat on the crease to stitch together a partnership of 168 runs that ensured a big score for India. India went in with 5 specialist bowlers and 6 batsmen. The plan looked risky when India was 236 for 4 with Rahane back in the pavilion. The innings could have been entirely different had Ashwin not scored.
West Indies started under pressure and never looked like giving a fight to match the Indian total. Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav picked 4 wickets each to dismantle the West Indian batting for just 243 runs in the first innings. Opener K Braithwaite was the lone fighter with a hard fought innings of 74 runs. Dowrich’s half century in the latter half of the innings pushed the score to 243 which at one point looked to end under 200. With a lead of 313 in hand, India decided to enforce the follow on and derived immediate results with 2 quick wickets that included the wicket of in form K Braithwaite. Marlon Samuels along with Rajendra Chandrika frustrated the Indians for some time but the introduction of off spinner R. Ashwin changed it all. Ashwin immediately got rid off Chandrika and started picking up wickets at quick intervals. In no time Ashwin had picked up 5 wickets to be the only player from India to achieve a feat of a century and 5 wickets in the same match, twice. In all, Ashwin finished with 7 wickets to seal the match for India. There was some late defiance for Carlos Braithwaite and Devendra Bishoo with the scores of 51 and 45 respectively but that was too little too late. R. Ashwin was the man of the match for his allround efforts.
India (1st innings): 566/8 dec.
West Indies (1st innings): 243 all out
(2nd innings): 231 all out
India wins by an innings and 92 runs.