After the disappointing Test series in England, Team India started their red-ball campaign with a thumping victory over West Indies at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot. The world No. 1 Test side humiliated the Windies by an innings and 272 runs inside three days to take an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-match Test series.
Batting first, India piled up a mammoth 649/9 (declared) in their first innings, courtesy centuries from the debutant Prithvi Shaw (134), captain Virat Kohli (139) and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja (100*). Subsequently, Indian bowlers ripped through the visitors batting line-up to dismiss them on 181 and 196 in the first and second innings respectively. While Ashwin was the stand-out bowler in the first innings, claiming four wickets, Kuldeep Yadav picked up his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket in the second essay.
Speaking at the post-match presentation ceremony, India skipper Virat Kohli said: "Don't think you can compare the two conditions (England and India). That was a bigger challenge, something we don't experience day in and day out. Knew when we come back home and the kind of quality we have, we will dominate in these conditions. Guys understand how to play in these conditions and they were clinical.”
“Happy that the guys put in a clinical performance. Especially delighted for Prithvi and Jaddu. The way Prithvi dominated on debut was outstanding to see. Easy conditions or not, you still have to go out there and back yourself to dominate. The guy showed he's different quality, which is why he's pushed into the Indian team so quickly. He just grabs his opportunity with both hands. Exciting to see from a captain's point of view,” he added.
Virat was in full in praise for the bowlers but had special words reserved for Jadeja, who also scalped four wickets in the match besides the swashbuckling ton.
“Jaddu as well, he's scored important runs for us in the past. We believe he can change games for us and have match winning contributions with both bat and ball, he's electrifying in the field anyway. If you see the first innings, the way Shami and Umesh ran in to bowl was really good to see on a pitch that's not giving you much. Shami came in and bowled the way only he can. Spinners are clinical in these conditions anyway. Kuldeep outstanding in the second innings, Ashwin in the first, Jaddu was consistent as always,” he asserted.
When asked about West Indies’ abysmal showing, the Indian captain refused to comment on it.
“That's not something for me to speak upon (surprised with Windies performance). I'm sure, as a team, they'd want to rectify their errors. We want to improve upon the things we need to do, not focus on what the opposition want to do,” Kohli concluded.
On the other hand, stand-in Windies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite rued not putting enough partnerships as a batting unit.
“Not the best of starts, credit to India. They showed us how to bat. Quite disappointed. Didn't get enough partnerships as a batting unit. Two or three partnerships would hold us very well. One thing we said in our meeting was to be as positive as possible. Not sure if Holder will be fit for the next game,” Brathwaite said.
For his glorious century on Test debut, the 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw was adjudged Man of the Match.
“It was a great win for the team, more happy for the team. Can't imagine my debut like this. Whenever you play international cricket, there's always a challenge. Was looking to play my natural game, like I do in first-class,” Shaw said at the presentation ceremony.
The second Test between India and West Indies will be played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad from October 12.