TEST: West Indies succumb to heaviest defeat against India
SUMMARY: India 649-9 decl. (Kohli 139, Shaw 134, Jadeja 100*, Pant 92) beat West Indies 181 (Chase 53, Ashwin 4-37) and 196 (Powell 83, Kuldeep 5-57, Jadeja 3-35) by an innings and 272 runs
The great West Indies procession ended with their heaviest Test defeat against India, by an innings and 272 runs. It took India under 100 overs to bowl them out twice in their third straight three-day defeat in India. Fourteen of the 20 wickets fell in two sessions and a bit on the third day.
The pace at which the batsmen kept going back to the pavilion prompted India to enforce the follow-on. In the follow-on innings, Kuldeep Yadav benefited, becoming only the seventh player to register five-fors in all three formats of international cricket.
Only Kieran Powell managed to resist, scoring an attacking 83 off 93, but even this innings was built more on luck than a method in the initial stages. To his credit, Powell hardly made a mistake once he was past the early high-risk shots that managed to evade fielders. The day began similarly, with West Indies resuming at 94 for 6. Despite streaky devil-may-care batting from Roston Chase and Keemo Paul, India took the four wickets well before lunch, making the follow-on decision easy after having bowled West Indies out in 48 overs.
It was clear West Indies didn’t turn their defence. Chase and Paul chanced their arm early, and that was the template for the rest of the day. A mix of well-timed and edged boundaries against the bowling of Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav ensued. The partnership reached fifty, both the batsmen approached that landmark, but then Umesh Yadav finally bowled the first bouncer of the morning, drawing a top edge for midwicket to catch. Paul fell on 47.
R Ashwin then produced a spell of lovely offspin bowling, teasing and tormenting the lower order with flight and drift. He had Chase dropped in one over, but in the next, he created a gap between his bat and pad with a lovely drift and the ball spun back to go through that gap and hit the stumps. Debutant Sherman Lewis then was flummoxed by a carrom ball. Shannon Gabriel, too, fell prey to the carrom ball. This time the ball missed the stumps, but an overbalanced Gabriel gave Rishabh Pant a stumping after he had 16 byes and two dropped catches against his name.
Ten minutes later, Ashwin was at them again, this time with the new ball. He didn’t need the carrom ball now to threaten each edge of the bat as the new ball sometimes tended to go straight. Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieran Powell batted with aggression that emanated probably from their lack of trust in their defence. In the end it was a sharp spitting offbreak that brought Prithvi Shaw his first Test catch at short leg from the bat of Brathwaite.
Possibly with the Australia tour in mind, India gave Kuldeep a long go in the second innings, and the wristspinner responded. Shai Hope played back to a fullish ball and was trapped lbw. Shimron Hetmeyer was a shot a minute, and sooner or later one was going to spoon off the outside edge. Sunil Ambris jumped out of the crease without picking a wrong’un, and Pant had a second stumping. Chase was done in by the drift on a full wide half-volley, but still he will be disappointed he didn’t adjust and drove it straight to cover.
Powell had a little bit of luck early on when he cleared the infield off the inside half of the bat early on. Post that he connected cleanly and sweetly with every ball pitched too full. He hit four sixes and eight fours in his innings, but with the century approaching he closed the face on a Kuldeep delivery, offering Shaw his second silly-point catch of the day. At least that innings had helped West Indies get close to avoiding their heaviest defeat in all Test cricket, by an innings and 283 runs against England in 2007.
The procession continued with trigger-happy batting, Paul finding long-off, Bisho gloving a sweep down the leg side and Lewis and Gabriel attempting big shots. Only six of the 20 wickets had fallen with batsmen playing a defensive shot. (ESPNCricinfo)