Having gone wicketless with the first 280 balls of his Test career, Miguel Cummins picked up three in his next ten balls. In the space of those first 280 balls, Cummins went through multiple frustrations: going off with cramps in his debut Test, and, in his second Test, watching batsmen fend accurate bouncers in the general direction of short leg but just out of the fielder’s reach.
“For me, the debut Test was very tough, because I was playing for the first time so nerves took in,” Cummins said at the end of the second day’s play in St Lucia. “Was fighting a long way, fighting hard, hard, hard. Came today, saw the [other] guys take wickets but didn’t let that fluster me. I tried looking for wickets but my job was to build pressure.”
On Tuesday, West Indies took the first five Indian wickets for 126 runs, and in the second session on Wednesday, they ran through the last five wickets for the cost of only 14 runs. But in between, R Ashwin and Wriddhiman Saha put on 213 to balance out some of West Indies’ good work with the ball.
Cummins applauded his team-mates for toppling India’s top half, but admitted Ashwin and Saha made things tough for them. “We did a very good job of getting their top order,” he said. “They are a very talented batting line-up but we stuck to our plans. But can’t take anything away from Ashwin and Saha, they batted very well. We had to keep fighting when they had the partnership.”
West Indies made good use of a St Lucia pitch with plenty of bounce on offer, with Alzarri Joseph dismissing Virat Kohli with a well-directed lifter on day one and Cummins and Shannon Gabriel wiping out the lower order with a barrage of short balls.
“The plan was not to bowl short [exclusively] but mix it up,” Cummins said. “Ashwin normally sits on the back foot, lot of guys sit on the back foot. So our plan was to get some balls [pitched] up and let them drive and then use the short-pitched stuff.”