Ashwin, Jadeja, and the openers proclaim India’s dominance day

On Day 1 of the first Test in Dominica on Wednesday, July 12, R Ashwin amassed his 33rd five-wicket haul, hastening the demise of the West Indies. Despite a valiant 47 from debutant Alick Athanaze, Ashwin’s 5 for 60 and Ravindra Jadeja’s 3 for 36 helped India bowl the hosts out for 150. After that, an unbroken 80-run partnership between skipper Rohit Sharma and rookie Yashasvi Jaiswal of India reduced the margin to 70.

In the second over of India’s innings, Rohit was saved by the umpire’s decision after West Indies chose the DRS for a leg-before shout. The Indian captain, who had already begun the over with a swiveled pull for a boundary, then hit his second four by playing a one-handed cover drive off Kemar Roach. Joseph, on the other hand, messed up his lines, giving India enough extra-person runs. Jaiswal needed 16 deliveries before he scored his maiden runs, which he achieved with a forceful cut off Joseph that resulted in a boundary.

The eighth over saw the introduction of Rahkeem Cornwall, and Jaiswal quickly engaged the spinner by playing a sweep for a four. Rohit had inside-edged a Joseph delivery onto his boot, which caused him to stutter for a bit. When Jaiswal attempted to play some strong strokes off Cornwall, he was out of control. To take the partnership past 50, Rohit, at the other end, produced a brilliant straight drive off Joseph for his third four and blasted his maiden six over midwicket in Jomel Warrican’s opening over. Jaiswal chose the lengths quickly to cut Cornwall and Warrican for a few boundaries. He also performed a reverse sweep for a boundary off Warrican’s final over before driving a Jason Holder ball through cover for his fifth four.

The openers were put to the test by Siraj and Jaydev Unadkat, who frequently went over both edges while cutting good lines. However, they were unable to cause any harm since Kraigg Brathwaite and Tagenarine Chanderpaul managed to survive for almost an hour before R Ashwin abruptly sent them both back. Chanderpaul was dismissed while trying to defend, and Brathwaite was destroyed by his determination to attack. Jermaine Blackwood was saved by the umpire’s decision after India requested a review of a leg-before ruling in Ashwin’s over. 

However, Raymon Reifer soon lost his wicket after getting an outside edge from Shardul Thakur, giving another rookie from India, Ishan Kishan, his first catch. In the final over before lunch, Mohammed Siraj made an incredible catch to dismiss Jermaine Blackwood, giving Jadeja a wicket.

Early in the second session, India squandered a review when Thakur whacked Joshua Da Silva on the pad. The wicketkeeper-batter, however, had a brief stay when he was bowled while attempting to cut a Jadeja delivery near to his body. The innings was stabilized by Athanaze and Holder, with the former producing some elegant strokes reminiscent of Brian Lara. Compared to the first session, Ashwin was receiving more spin, but the fifth wicket duo was up to the challenge, with Athanaze feeling secure enough to play a slog sweep for a six. Siraj, however, broke the resistance by capturing Holder with a short ball. Joseph was struck by a leading edge as Ashwin achieved 700 wickets in international play. Athanaze missed his fifty by three runs due to a mistimed pull, giving Ashwin his fourth wicket.

At the beginning of the final session, Cornwall attacked Ashwin, hitting two boundaries in the first over following tea. After a brief period of resistance, Roach was trapped leg-before by Jadeja, and India used a review to overturn the on-field ruling of not out. Warrican became Ashwin’s fifth victim after gifting a catch to Shubman Gill at the bat-pad. Third umpire Marais Erasmus considered several angles before ruling in Ashwin’s favor.

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