Eden Test: India thrash West Indies by an innings and 51 runs

Debutant Mohammed Shami produced a devastating spell of reverse swing to return with a dream match haul of nine wickets as India spanked West Indies by an innings and 51 runs in the first Test and take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series at Kolkata on Friday.

Ravichandran Ashwin also made it a memorable day by cracking his second Test century and then chipped in with three wickets as the hosts bundled out the visitors for a paltry 168 in the second innings to clinch the match with two days to spare.

It was a special match for debutants with Rohit Sharma, who also made his Test debut, cracking a magnificent 177 in the first of the two-match series which is also retiring legend Sachin Tendulkar's last outing in international cricket.  

Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami

Apart from Rohit, the star of the match was undoubtedly Shami who claimed 5/47 in the second innings and returned impressive match figures of 9 for 118 at the Eden Gardens. Shami's effort is the second best by an Indian on debut after Narendra Hirwani's 16/136 against the same opponents in Chennai way back in 1988.

Starting their second innings with a huge deficit, West Indies were bundled out for just 168, with off-spinner Ashwin (3/46) providing Shami the support at the other end. 

Earlier, Rohit narrowly missed out on a double century on debut by 23 runs while Ashwin slammed his second Test ton in a record 280-run stand for the seventh wicket as India extended their lead to a mammoth 219 runs before being bowled out for 453.

Rohit slammed an exquisite 177 off 301 balls with the help of 23 fours and a six. Rohit Sharma, who became the third Indian player to register a hundred on Test debut at Eden Gardens yesterday, was adjudged lbw. He was dismissed by left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul. Rohit might consider himself unlucky as the ball looked like it may have just missed the off stump.

Ashwin and Rohit added a record 280-run partnership for India for the seventh wicket. For the visitors, Shane Shillingford was the most successful bowler, returning figures of six for 167 in 55 overs.

The duo surpassed the Indian highest seventh wicket partnership of 259 runs between V V S Laxman (143 not out) and M S Dhoni's (132 not out) vs South Africa in February 2010 at the same venue. The Sharma-Ashwin partnership was the third highest in the all-time record for this wicket.

The West Indies triggered a collapse after Rohit's dismissal as India lost their remaining four wickets for 17 runs.

Ashwin, who slammed his second Test hundred against West Indies, departed after scoring 124 off 210 balls, hitting 11 fours. 

Making his debut at his home ground, Bengal pacer Shami, who took 4/71 in the first innings, utilised the conditions to maximum effect as he rocked the West Indies batting line-up with his lethal reverse swinging deliveries that skidded in sharply.

It was India's fifth Test victory in a row after their 4-0 rout of Australia as the victory also snapped the West Indies' six-match winning streak. 

Rohit Sharma

In their second innings, West Indies collapsed from 101 for one to 168 all out to hand India an easy win.

The two teams will now travel to Mumbai for the final Test and Tendulkar's last in international cricket.

Ashwin made a couple of key breakthroughs before the 23-year-old Shami blew apart the West Indies batting after getting the old ball to swing considerably.

It was Ashwin who effected the key breakthroughs first up as he did not let Kieran Powell (36) and Darren Bravo (37) steady the ship after Chris Gayle's (33) early exit. After Ashwin broke the second-wicket 68-run partnership, Shami got into the rhythm as the West Indies lost two wickets in two overs before tea to brighten India's hope of wrapping up the match on the third day itself.

After a fine spell of 7-0-18-2 that continued post tea, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni made the Bengal pacer bowl from the High Court end and it turned out to be another good move from 'Captain Cool'.  

Ravichandran Ashwin. Pic: AFP

Shami had a two-wicket burst with his lethal in-cutters and the third came through Dhoni's smart work while running out Veerasammy Permaul as the 49th over opened the gates for the Indians. The visitors, at that stage, were on the verge of defeat at 152/8.

Shami first uprooted Darren Sammy's middle stump and with the fourth ball, he unsettled Shane Shillingford's offstump en route to his fourth wicket.

Ashwin joined in the party when he had Tino Best and it was a formality from thereon.

The West Indians had initially staged a steady recovery with Powell and Bravo frustrating the Indians for a brief while in the post-lunch session.

Ashwin put down a difficult low catch from Powell while Ojha continued his streak of bad luck as the opener was dropped by Bhuvneshwar at long leg.

Desperate to break the Powell-Bravo partnership, Dhoni tried out various options and even gave the ball to Tendulkar for a second time in the match. Kohli was hit on his abdomen region because of uneven bounce and had to go out of the field. Ashwin then gave the breakthrough when he trapped Powell with a low delivery.  

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