Ravichandran Ashwin’s remarkable performance on the first day of the first Test against the West Indies has put India in a commanding position. Ashwin claimed his 33rd five-wicket haul in Test cricket, helping to bowl out the West Indies for a mere 150 runs. At stumps, India was at 80-0, trailing by only 70 runs, with Yashasvi Jaiswal (40) and captain Rohit Sharma (30) unbeaten at the crease.
Making his comeback after missing the World Test Championship final, Ashwin displayed his mastery by taking 5 wickets for 60 runs in 24.3 overs. In a historic moment, he became the first Indian and the fifth player to dismiss a father and son in Test cricket. Ashwin had previously dismissed Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the father of Tagenarine Chanderpaul, in his debut Test match in 2011. The other players to achieve this feat include Mitchell Starc, Ian Botham, Wasim Akram, and Simon Harmer.
Ashwin said, “I thought it was a really good performance. There was some moisture in the pitch in the first session. It got slower and started to spin a little bit. I enjoyed the spell in the first session, and in the second, I had to work a little more.”
Ashwin’s outstanding performance was crucial in dismantling the West Indies batting lineup. He struck early, dismissing both openers before lunch, and continued to take wickets throughout the innings. His deliveries were difficult to handle, with the dismissal of Tagenarine Chanderpaul being particularly impressive as the ball straightened past the outside edge to hit off stump.
By tea, the West Indies had slumped to 137-8, and Ashwin claimed two more wickets to end the innings. Alick Athanaze top-scored for the West Indies with 47, but Ashwin’s well-directed shorter, faster ball ended his promising innings.
In India’s batting innings, Jaiswal and Sharma displayed comfort on a slowing pitch, forging an unbeaten partnership of 80 runs. Their solid performance ensured India finished the day in a strong position, trailing by a mere 70 runs.
Ashwin’s remarkable achievement of reaching 700 wickets across all international formats adds to his impressive career. His ability to adapt to different conditions and deliver outstanding performances has made him a vital asset to the Indian team.
With India’s dominant display on the first day, they are well-placed to take control of the match as they start the new World Test Championship cycle on a winning note. The team will seek to capitalize on their strong start and build a substantial lead in the coming days.