The first test between the Indian cricket team and West Indies cricket team for India’s tour of the Caribbean 2015-16 took place in the ground named after the sheer maestro of West Indies cricket in Sir Viv Richards i.e. the Sir Viv Richards Stadium, North South, Antigua.
The series follows up after the controversial tour last year where the West Indies cricket team left the Indian tour mid-way due to disputes with the board and did not even return to complete the ODI series; BCCI was left understandably angered by all this and it resulted in some heavy losses for the Indian board. In the bid to better the ties, this tour had been negotiated by the West Indies Cricket Board.
The start to the first test has seen some great hype being built in form of new Indian coach, Anil Kumble, taking over from Ravi Shastri – with it in itself having a major chunk of controversy, with Shastri alleging that his meeting did not see Sourav Ganguly present and Ganguly reverting that for such a presentation, Shastri should be present in person and not holidaying in Thailand. Amidst this controversy, ‘Jumbo’ as Kumble is called; has emerged as a fine coach selection with players already praising his positive approach but he will be looking to put his experience into fruitful results on ground for the Indian team.
The toss went in favor of the Indian captain in Virat Kohli who opted to bat. Continuing with his style of aggressive captaincy, Kohli played 5 bowlers in a line-up that isn’t batting heavy already, Kohli has shown where his nervous areas lie in the XI. Ashwin-Mishra spin combo and Umesh, Ishant and Shami to do the task of fast bowling. West Indies team left out spinners like Permaul, Benn, Shillingford and went instead for the debutant in Chase. West Indies went with the combination of 6 batsmen, 1 keeper (replacing Ramdin was Dowrich).
The pitch at Antigua seemed to have fair bounce for the fast bowlers, should they bend their backs and attempt to extract this bounce – which is exactly what Gabriel did. Frustrating the Indian openers with the awkward bounce from the pitch, Dhawan and Vijay looked visibly uncomfortable facing him and it was soon enough that Vijay in the bid to save himself from getting hit, played a ball in the air and straight to the slip cordon – Gabriel seizing the first blow at 14-1.
The calmness of Pujara and crispiness of Dhawan’s shots took the innings forward. It was soon known that the pitch has no spin, at least on the first day. Both Bishoo and Chase were unable to spin the ball sharply and it was only pace variations – which was still enough to get the wicket of Pujara for 16, by Bishoo.
Next in was Virat Kohli – whose effortless style, aggressive mindset and ability to maneuver the field yielded the West Indies bowlers in awe of this legend – who got to his 12th test century in international test cricket.
At the other end, Dhawan missed on a century by 16 runs, getting out at the stroke of tea for 84. Rahane too failed to trouble the scorers with his 36 ball 22 – another victim of Bishoo.
India is currently 302/4 after 90 overs – with Kohli 143* and Ashwin 22*.