Scores | Action in images | Farewell, Sachin | God at Eden
India’s thrashing of the West Indies today produced more evidence that India needed to stop hankering after its jaded superstars and groom young players who are raring to have a go at the world.
It was Rohit Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin in the morning, turning a lost cause into an impregnable position. Then, it was Shami Ahmed who produced the most spectacular mix of pace, seam and swing not seen from an Indian debutant since Munaf Patel blew England away in 2006. It’s not often in a Test match that one debutant—Rohit—scores a hundred and another—Shami—takes a fiver. With the old ball reversing out of Shami’s hand, the West Indies collapsed almost on cue, ending the game in three days, robbing Sachin Tendulkar a hit in his last Test series.
Four ordinary umpiring decisions marred what was otherwise a near-perfect day for India. Ashwin, 92 overnight, pushed on to his second Test hundred. He and Rohit stretched their partnership to 280. That, in a game where the other 29 partnerships averaged 19 runs apiece, was mammoth. The West Indies didn’t pass that number in either of their knocks.
Rohit’s innings was cut short by the first of the poor umpiring calls of the day. He shouldered arms to Verasammy Permaul’s first ball of the day. His foot was down the off-stump line. The ball was turning away. Yet Richard Kettleborough gave it out LBW. Rohit, on 177, had to his name the seventh highest Test score by a debutant. He took his own sweet time to leave the crease, dejection writ large on his face.
Ashwin was dropped by Denesh Ramdin, but in the same over he fell sweeping Shane Shillingford for 127. And as it often happens after a big partnership is broken in tough batting conditions, the rest of the batting collapses. Shillingford completed his fourth consecutive fiver in Tests—a fine comeback for a bowler banned in 2010 by the ICC for an illegal bowling action.
[MONTAGE] The Tendulkar Trademarks
[PHOTOS] Kolkata gets Sachin fever
[FOCUS] A bit of Sachin magic
[STATS] Test hundreds for India on debut
Chris Gayle became strongly, scoring all the 33 runs made for the opening wicket. But he got set up by Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. The seamer let loose one bouncer that went to Dhoni on the second bounce. The second bouncer was quicker and Gayle tried to fetch it from outside the off-stump, only to sky it to midwicket.
Bhuvaneshwar erred by dropping Darren Bravo at deep square leg, the third catch missed off Pragyan Ojha in the game. Bravo and Kieron Powell took the score to 101-1, after which the collapse started.
Marlon Samuels probably wasn’t out. Shami struck him with an in-swinging in-front of leg-stump and the ball would have probably missed the stumps. Nigel Llong didn’t think so.
Tendulkar then nearly had a wicket, hitting Powell in front of leg and middle. But Llong misread that as well, giving it as runs to the batsman.
Then started the Shami show. He took nine wickets in the game, six of them bowled. In this game, he had perfected the in-swinging ball that cuts back sharply into the right-hander at great pace. Darren Sammy didn’t see it coming, not did Shillingford or Sheldon Cotterrell. Sammy should have had Permaul as well with a yorker that crunched into his boot—it would have been his third wicket in the 49th over—but the umpire didn’t think it good enough for an LBW.
After the recent boundary-fest between India and Australia, it was a delight to see reverse swing and flying stumps. Wonder what Ishant Sharma, watching intently from the dressing room, would have to say about that.