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India in West Indies: Ashwin Delivers the Sucker Punch

Ashwin, who did not play in India's first warm-up game, said that he learnt a lot from watching legspinner Amit Mishra bowl in the practice match.

Abhishek Nandwani |Cricketnext |July 25, 2016, 8:26 AM IST
India in West Indies: Ashwin Delivers the Sucker Punch

Before the series, offspinner R Ashwin said that patience will be the key for him and India's other bowlers on the slow tracks of the West Indies, and that's what exactly turned as Ashwin almost single-handedly won the first Test for India in the Caribbean on Sunday with a day to spare.

He was wicketless in the first innings, but the offie, who also scored his third Test century in the match, was the wrecker-in-chief in the second innings with figures of 7 for 83 as the visitors won the match by an innings and 92 runs.

It was Ashwin's first five-wicket haul outside the subcontinent, leaving the hosts bamboozled with his variation.

His previous best outside the subcontinent was 4 for 105, which came against Australia in Sydney in January 2015. He has picked up a five-wicket haul outside India but it was in the subcontinent - against Sri Lanka at Galle in August and against Bangladesh in the one-off Test at Fatullah in June last year.

Ashwin, who did not play in India's first warm-up game, said that he learnt a lot from watching legspinner Amit Mishra bowl in the practice match.

"[The pitches in West Indies are] getting slower. If the wickets are going to be tailor-made for us, if it starts spinning, then we come into our own. But until then, it's all about patience.

Virat Kohli's maiden Test double hundred had a major role to play in India's 566 for 8, but the all-round star was Ashwin. He made 113 and stitched a 168-run stand with Kohli for the fifth wicket, before his bowling antics on the fourth day.

All three of Ashwin’s Test centuries have come against West Indies, although this is the first time he has scored a ton away from home.

Ashwin came into his own to hasten the end to West Indies second innings and in the process accomplished a double of a century and five-plus wickets.

The first wicket for Ashwin was opener Rajendra Chandrika, who had a faint inside-edge and was adjudged accurately by the umpire caught on the third attempt by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. It started the slide for West Indies and the off-spinner tore into the opening he had created.

In the very next over, he removed Jermaine Blackwood (0) for his second duck in the match, as skipper Kohli held a magnificent diving catch at midwicket. Then came the best moment for Ashwin, as a dream delivery spun to beat Samuels' straight bat and knock back his off-stump.

Ashwin then had Roston Chase caught at forward short leg and the West Indies' resistance was more or less over. Ashwin completed five-for by bowling Jason Holder (16) through the gate. It was the second time in Test cricket that the offspinner celebrated a double of Test hundred and five-wicket haul.

The ninth-wicket stand frustrated the Indians as the umpires called tea but soon in the final session Ashwin cleaned up the last two wickets to end with figures of 7 for 83.

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5211 116
2 New Zealand 3959 110
3 Australia 4320 108
4 England 5253 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5602 112
5 Australia 5915 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 7815 269
3 England 6407 267
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 6220 259
see more