To put it in one word, the opening day of the first Test between India and Windies was 'Shaw-some'! Debutant Prithvi Shaw touched various records on his way to a stroke-filled 154-ball 134 and helped India rubber-stamp their dominance over the visiting side at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot.
After Shaw and Cheteshwar Pujara added 206 runs for the second wicket, Virat Kohli too decided to join the run-fest. When the stumps were drawn, India were 364 for 4 in 89 overs with Kohli and Rishabh Pant unbeaten on 72 and 17 respectively.
Right-arm seamer Shannon Gabriel trapped KL Rahul (nought) right in front of the stumps with a pacey in-dipper in the very first over to give Windies a fantastic start after Indian captain Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first on a placid batting surface. However, the departure of his senior partner hardly bothered Shaw.
It all started with a lovely back-foot punch towards the cover-point region that helped the 18-year-old accumulate three runs. Then came the trademark cuts, followed by wristy flicks and exquisite drives, and Shaw was up and running. Vice-captain of the Indian Test side Ajinkya Rahane earlier spoke about how he wanted his Mumbai teammate to bat the way he does in the domestic circuit, and that's exactly what Shaw did.
The right-hander was helped immensely by some wayward bowling from Windies who were without their regular skipper Jason Holder and leading pacer Kemar Roach. Holder injured his ankle during the preparatory camp in Dubai, and in his absence, opener Kraigg Brathwaite was handed over the captaincy for the second time in Tests. Meanwhile, Roach had to fly back to Barbados following the death of his grandmother.
Barring Gabriel, the other bowlers failed to hit the right line and length to Shaw and that allowed the young batsman to play to his strength. Both Keemo Paul and debutant Sherman Lewis kept on bowling outside off making Shaw's life slightly easier.
At the other end, local boy Pujara, who looked far from his best in England, took some time to settle in before joining Shaw in the run-fest. Both Pujara and Shaw did not allow leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo or off-spinner Roston Chase to settle in and pounced on every bad delivery. Such was the Shaw-effect that Pujara, for the first time in his career, crossed the 50-run mark before lunch on Day 1. The No. 3 scored freely and looked in complete control during his stay in the middle.
Talking about Shaw, the opener brought up his century in the 32nd over and became the youngest Indian, and fourth youngest overall to score a hundred on his debut.
The marathon partnership was finally broken in the 43rd over when Lewis got rid of Pujara for 86, his innings studded with 14 fours. Shaw didn't survive for long either, offering Bishoo a return catch to a delivery that just held onto the surface a tad bit longer. Just when it looked like Windies would crawl back to the game, Kohli and Rahane joined hands to share a 105-run stand.
Unlike Shaw and Pujara, Kohli and Rahane were slightly more patient with their approach. Kohli looked in terrific nick and picked up from where he left in England. The top-ranked Test batsman did not go for any unnecessary shots but drove every half-volley with authority. In the process, Kohli breached the fifty-run mark for the 43rd time in his Test career.
Everything was going smoothly for the home side before Rahane tried to cut Chase and ended up bottom-edging it to the wicketkeeper when he was on 41. However, Kohli and Pant batted out the remaining overs and ensured there were no further setbacks before the curtains were drawn on Day 1.