RAJKOT, India – The WINDIES faced a toiling day in the field in sweltering conditions, after India CAPTAIN Virat Kohli won the toss and elected to bat first, in the first match of the Paytm Test Series in Rajkot.
The WINDIES were dealt a blow before a ball was bowled, when Captain Jason Holder still experienced discomfort in his right ankle during a fitness test before the start of the match. Holder suffered a minor sprain to his right ankle in the practice match against the UAE in Dubai, before traveling to India. Despite every effort to rest, he did not recover sufficiently to feature in the playing eleven.
Despite the loss of the captain, the WINDIES saw the Test debut of Grenadian medium-fast bowler Shermon Lewis, who looked controlled and impressive on debut. Lewis along with Keemo Paul ably supported Shannon Gabriel as the seamers used the green, hard pitch to their advantage. Gabriel got the breakthrough in the first over when he trapped KL Rahul LBW for 0, leaving India 3/1.
India then took control of the flow of the match as 19-yr old Test debutant Prithvi Shaw and Cheteshwar Pujara started a slow rebuild. Prithvi then switched into a different gear for his tender age and attacked the WINDIES bowling. He took himself to a maiden Test century while Pujara played supporting actor.
Pujara eventually settled into his own rhythm and started building his own innings, but Lewis got him to chase after one and getting the faintest of edges, which carried to wicketkeeper Dowrich for a well-played 86, handing Shermon Lewis his first Test wicket. India Captain joined Prithvi in the middle, with the teenager continuing his free scoring. However, Devendra Bishoo got Prithvi to hit one back at hit which he safely held on to. A dream Test debut innings ending on 134 for young Prithvi Shaw, India 232/3.
Kohli was joined by his vice-captain Ajinka Rahane and they posted a 105-run partnership before Rahane edged one off the bottom of his bat to Dowrich for 41.
Rishabh Pant joined Kohli and the pair took India to 364/4 at the close of play. Kohli not out on 72 and Pant not out on 17. Bowling for the WINDIES, Shannon Gabriel, Devendra Bishoo, Shermon Lewis and Roston Chase all had a wicket each.
WINDIES bowling coach Corey Collymore admitted the bowling didn’t go to plan but “tomorrow is another day and we have a new chance to enforce and maintain pressure. Credit must go to Shannon Gabriel for standing up in the absence of Jason and Kemar. Keemo also did his part and congratulations to young Lewis on his debut and first Test wicket. Ups and downs are part of the game, I’ve told the guys to stay disciplined and stay together as a bowling unit, but most importantly enjoy the game.”
Play resumes at 9:30am Indian Standard Time, 12:00am Eastern Caribbean Time or 11:00pm Jamaica Time.