By BV Swagath
Update of Final Session: India have taken control of the First Test following a disastrous batting performance from the tourists. The hosts have smoothly got to 37 for no loss having bundled out West Indies for just 234. Openers Murali Vijay (16* from 45 balls) and Shikhar Dhawan (21* from 27 balls) have looked very comfortable against the West Indian bowling attack. For the West Indies, debutant left-arm quick Sheldon Cottrell looked promising but only in patches.
The hosts didn’t have to work that hard to take the remaining three wickets of the West Indies in the final session. Shivnarine Chanderpaul helped the homeside by playing for himself and not shielding the tail-enders. Veerasammy Permaul (14) was the first to get out in the final session, caught and bowled off Ashwin in a forcing drive. Chanderpaul himself was dismissed, when he went back instead of coming forward to Ashwin and got bowled by a straighter one from round the sticks. The 39-year-old played a sedate innings of 36 from 79 balls with 3 fours.
The West Indian innings came to a close when Shami Ahmed cleaned up the off stump off no.11 Sheldon Cottrell with an inswinger. West Indies were bowled out in 78 overs with debutant Shami Ahmed picking up 4 for 71.
Update of Afternoon Session: West Indies find themselves in a huge mess with few of their batsmen gifting their wickets away with terrible shot selection. Shami Ahmed was the star of the afternoon session having an impact in two wickets and a run out to change the complexion of the West Indian innings. At Tea, the tourists are stuttering at 192 for 7 in 62.4 overs with only Shivnarine Chanderpaul (23*) showing any intent of staying at the wicket.
India’s much needed breakthrough in the afternoon session came when a well set Marlon Samuels had his middle stump knocked off by a reversing inswinger from Shami in the 44th over. Samuels (65 from 98 balls with 11 fours and 2 sixes) was sitting back rather than coming forward to end a promising partnership of 91 runs with Bravo. Four balls after his exit, Darren Bravo (23 from 96 balls) ran himself out after setting off for a leg bye behind square all on his own before he was sent back by the non-striker Chanderpaul. Shami was the fielder who quickly pounced onto the ball to affect a run out.
Shami Ahmed on song went on to peg back the middle stump off Denesh Ramdin with a sharp inswinger to leave the Wicket Keeper batsman clueless and the visitors at 143 for 5. Skipper Darren Sammy committed suicide by lofting Pragyan Ojha to the fielder placed perfectly at wide long off. The second session was rounded off perfectly with MS Dhoni giving the ball to Tendulkar an over before Tea. Tendulkar produced a straighter one with his leg spin bowling to have a stubborn looking Shane Shillingford lbw in front of middle. West Indies from a decent position of 107 for 2 collapsed to 192 for 7 to play into the hands of Team India.
Update of Morning Session: West Indies recovered from early setbacks to end up the opening session on Day 1 at 107 for 2 in 33 overs. Marlon Samuels, came out all guns blazing against the Indian attack to run away with 45 not out in 55 balls with 7 fours and 2 sixes. Batting with him is Dwayne Bravo on 16* from 71 balls.
India’s first breakthrough came in the 11th over when Chris Gayle poked at an away going delivery from Bhuvneshwar Kumar to Vijay at second slip. Gayle made 18 (from 32 balls) in an opening stand of 34. His opening partner Kieran Powell played a dreadful pull shot off Mohammad Shami in the 15th over, fetching it from outside off and top edging it to mid off to give the speedster his maiden Test scalp. Bhuvneshwar Kumar helped his colleague Shami with a fantastic backward running catch to his left to leave West Indies at 47 for 2.
The pitch has already started to take turn and is staying low right from the first ball. However, the West Indians have batted well against the spinners, taking the attack to them with their lusty hits.
Toss and Teams: West Indies have won the toss and elected to bat first in the 1st Test at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. The pitch according to the West Indian Captain Darren Sammy is a 4-day wicket, so we should expect it to deteriorate as the match progresses to aid the spinners.
Fast bowler Kemar Roach has been ruled out because of a niggle and in his place comes 24-year-old debutant fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell. For India, Rohit Sharma and Mohammad Shami make their Test debut taking the places of Rahane and Ishant Sharma. India are playing with two spinners in Ashwin and Ojha.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni (C&WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pragyan Ojha, Mohammad Shami
West Indies: Chris Gayle, Kieran Powell, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Denesh Ramdin (WK), Darren Sammy (C), Shane Shillingford, Veerasammy Permaul, Sheldon Cotterrell, Tino Best