Rohit, Ashwin put India in control

1ST TEST, DAY 2—West Indies fade away after inspired start as Rohit hits hundred on debut.

Rohit celebrates his hundred at the Eden Gardens.

Scores | Action in images | Farewell, Sachin | God at Eden

It was the sort of baton-passing moment you see only in films. The old veteran walked out of the park with the disappointment of a failure. In walked the young upstart with dreams in his eyes and the hope of making this occasion at the Eden Gardens one to remember. And what a fine job he did of it.

Rohit Sharma repaid the faith posed in him over the years with a delightful hundred on Test debut. It was an innings that had the steel of Dravid, the fire of Tendulkar and the silk of Laxman, all pointing to one thing only: it’s time for India to move on. Giving Rohit rock-steady company is Ravichandran Ashwin, in sight of his second Test hundred against the West Indies.

India were 83-5 early in the day, most of that damage inflicted by Shane Shillingford, the off-spinner that Sunil Gavaskar had written off as “Not Graeme Swann.” The lanky bowler with the somewhat jerky action belied all expectations to decimate the Indian top-order with his accurate off-spin. There was turn, dip and bounce, all of which India would be wary of if and when they bat again.

For now, India can bask in a fight-back led by two fine players who’ve pumped the lead up to 120 runs with a 198-run stand for the seventh wicket. Not bad for a slow, uneven wicket.

Shillingford decimated the Indian top-order.

SHILLINGFORD SHINES

The off-spinner began his day dismissing Shikhar Dhawan. The ball didn’t come on, stayed low and the left-hander played it on. Murali Vijay was done in by a beautiful doosra. Vijay had stepped out to defend it, but Shillingford saw him coming. The ball dipped on Vijay, bounced over his prod and Denesh Ramdin did the rest.

Then, the moment Eden Gardens had been waiting for. Tendulkar took his time to leave his seat in the dressing room. He arrived to the crease with thunderous applauses. Then, he had a long chat with Cheteshwar Pujara. The chat ended with a fist bump. Tendulkar was in no hurry. He was trying to build himself up for the moment. He then marked his guard, tapped his gear into place and finally faced up to Shillingford.

He began assuredly. Two firm, confident defences—one off the front foot, the other off the back—bookended two easy fours he whipped off Shillingford. Then, the fatal mistake. He played back to a slightly short ball. It was a doosra that hit him on the thigh. Umpire Nigel Llong decided it was good enough for the LBW. The Englishman copped abuses for it all day on Twitter.

Virat Kohli was caught at bat-pad, Pujara caught-behind trying to upper-cut a well-directed bouncer from debutant Sheldon Cotterrell. Was the impetuousness of one-day cricket the cause of their downfall?

Skipper MS Dhoni began the repairs with Rohit. But before their partnership acquired a menacing size, Dhoni was caught behind poking at a ball far outside his line of sight.

Ashwin is on the verge of another hundred.


ROHIT, ASHWIN FIGHT ON

It was to Shillingford’s disadvantage that he had little support from the other end. Veerasammy Permaul had no effect with his left-arm spinners while Tino Best and Cotterrell could not build any kind of pressure on Rohit, Dhoni and Ashwin.

By the evening session, Darren Sammy’s attack had been deflated. In the twilight, Rohit brought up his hundred with a streak wide of the slips. Tomorrow, Ashwin will eye his hundred. And when he does, it would be a fitting moment to say goodbye to the old guard and welcome this new one. They've earned it.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Trott to take 'immediate break' from cricket

Trott to take 'immediate break' from cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »