Debutant left-handed batter Alick Athanaze showed some resistance and was looking like putting a price on his wicket before falling for 47 as India pocketed another session in their kitty by reducing West Indies to 137/8 in 58 overs at Tea on Day 1 of first Test at Windsor Park, here on Wednesday.
After picking four wickets in the first session, India picked four more wickets, two of which were taken by Ravichandran Ashwin, while conceding only 69 runs. The visitors’ are now just two wickets away to bowl out West Indies for a below-par total.
The hosts’ below-par batting effort was caused mainly by some reckless shot selection, including of an assured, calm and composed looking Athanaze. The batters were perishing when trying to attack on deliveries without showing adequate patience, leaving a lot left to be desired.
An impressive Athanaze began the second session with a crisp drive on the up for four off Ravindra Jadeja. But the left-arm spinner bounced back by cramping Joshua da Silva for room on the cut with a straighter delivery and extra bounce took the edge behind to Ishan Kishan, who completed the catch on rebound.
But Athanaze continued to impress, driving square off Thakur for four, followed by pulling Ashwin with conviction for another boundary. Jadeja came under attack as Athanaze first swept him through square leg and then Jason Holder whacked straight down the ground to take two fours.
The sparse home crowd was left more delighted when Athanaze got down on his knees and swiped Ashwin high over mid-wicket for six. Just as the 41-run partnership was starting to bail West Indies out of trouble, Mohammed Siraj’s short-ball persistence was rewarded as Holder pulled straight to deep square leg.
Ashwin came back into the bowling attack and picked his third wicket when Alzarri Joseph miscued slog to backward point. The dismissal also helped Ashwin clinch his 700th scalp, making him the third Indian bowler to take most wickets in international cricket after Anil Kumble (956) and Harbhajan Singh (711).
The off-spinner had kept Athanaze in tight control on three deliveries in the 55th over and on the last ball of the over, the left-hander tried to pull a short ball over midwicket. But the ball went up and was caught easily by mid-on, leaving Athanaze three runs short of fifty on Test debut.
Brief Scores: West Indies 137/8 in 58 overs (Alick Athanaze 47; Ravichandran Ashwin 4/49) against India