AUGUST 25, 2019
Brief Scorecard: India 297 (Rahane 81, Jadeja 58, Roach 4-66) and 343 for 7 dec. (Rahane 102, Vihari 93, Chase 4-132) beat West Indies 222 (Chase 48, Holder 39, Ishant 5-43) and 100 (Roach 38, Bumrah 5-7, Ishant 3-31) by 318 runs
ANTIGUA – West Indies were blown away by Jasprit Bumrah’s five-wicket haul, falling to 100 all out in what was effectively under a session’s worth of batting as they handed India a 318-run win, their biggest away win by runs. In the process, Bumrah became the first bowler from Asia to take five-wicket hauls in Australia, England, South Africa and the West Indies, in only his 11th Test. The win not only gave India 1-0 lead in the two-match Test series but also 60 points in their inaugural World Test Championship match.
Bumrah’s spell was built around hitting the stumps, specifically the off stump, no matter if the batsman was right or left-handed. He did this four times, all against West Indies’ recognised batsmen, and on the back of fast, moving deliveries.
Left-hand opener John Campbell tried to drive Bumrah through the off side on line but only managed to offer a wide passage for the ball to swing in late and knock the off stump over. It was a fiery stamp on the game from Bumrah, who had looked off-colour in the first innings. As if to add further strength to that bounceback, Bumrah produced a repeat of the ball to Darren Bravo, smashing his off stump in much the same manner off what happened to be the last ball of the second session, with West Indies going into the break on 15 for 5 after nearly 113 overs in the field.
It had all started with Kraigg Brathwaite’s wicket in Bumrah’s first over. A loose prod at a wide outswinger was Brathwaite’s downfall, with the thin edge carrying conveniently through to the keeper. Debutant Shamarh Brooks was in early as a result, but minutes after Bumrah’s inswinger rattled Campbell’s stumps, he was the victim of a prodigious inswinger from Ishant and was trapped in front of leg stump as he fell over trying to flick from the crease.
Bumrah could have had a fourth before tea – India bowled only 45 balls for the five wickets they picked up in that session – but the edge he induced with an outswinger to Shimron Hetmyer was dropped at third slip by Virat Kohli. Kohli was visibly relieved in the very next over though as Hetmyer went chasing an outswinger from Ishant. At gully, Rahane held on safely.
West Indies had reshuffled their batting order, possibly because of Roston Chase’s 38 overs and two innings of wicketkeeping for Shai Hope. They were both pushed a spot down from the first-innings order, but two found themselves in the middle after only 7.3 overs in the innings, trying to salvage something for the hosts.
Bumrah was having none of it. While the wickets of Campbell and Bravo came from full inswingers, he deceived Hope off the surface. Bumrah was barely short of a good length in the second innings, and this meant he could straighten one from middle stump past Hope’s outside edge. West Indies had only just got past the lowest Test total ever – 26 by New Zealand – at that point.
An exasperated Jason Holder showed no signs of putting up a fight, swatting a short ball straight to backward square leg to be dropped, then pulling Jadeja for four from a good length next over. He could only get as far as the second ball of Bumrah’s next over – an outswinger from middle stump that squared him up before taking out off stump. That was Bumrah’s fifth wicket.
Moments after an ironic applause when West Indies made it to 50, Mohammed Shami bowled a peach that left Chase from a good length and took his off stump.
Kemar Roach, among the best bowlers in the Test, albeit with little fortune, proved a thorn with the bat as well. He struck five sixes, including three off a single Ravindra Jadeja over, as he put together West Indies’ highest partnership of the match for the last wicket with Miguel Cummins. From 50 for 9, the pair took West Indies to 100 in under seven overs. Six cleanly struck sixes helped that cause, but Ishant had Roach top-edge a pull 20 minutes from stumps as India sealed the win, which took Kohli past Ganguly’s 11 for most away wins as captain, and on par with Dhoni’s 27 wins overall.
West Indies’ batting was far removed from India’s effort earlier in the day. Having begun the day 260 ahead, they stretched the lead to 418 on the back of Ajinkya Rahane’s 102 and Hanuma Vihari’s 93.
Rahane’s hundred was his tenth in Tests, although the first since August 2017. It’s a milestone that has followed him in many series, so when he did manage to find it with a tuck behind square, the relief was telling. Rahane smiled, stretched his arms as he acknowledged the dressing room, and then immediately fell to his knees and rested his head on the bat to take a moment. It had been a long time coming.
The man to take charge for India in the second session was Vihari, though. Aside from this driving, he also played the shot of the day, a ramp off Gabriel over the third man boundary. On a slow pitch, it was also fitting that such a shot came from a man who had been in the Caribbean with the India A team since the start of the month. It was one of many dominant moments he had against Gabriel, who showed signs throughout of a potential niggle in his left leg.
In the push for declaration, Vihari was given the time to pursue his hundred even after Rishabh Pant had holed out to deep backward square. Vihari swept a ball from wide outside off past midwicket to get into his nineties. But he would fall on 93 shortly after, trying to pull Holder and getting himself cramped.
That push for declaration had been set up, in a first session where Rahane oozed patience once again. His first-innings fifty had its moments of nervousness and fidgeting, but on Sunday, he barely provided a chance. Starting the day on 53, he made full use of West Indies’ reliance on spin and generous fields – point and long-on were perennially out on the boundary – and continued to build his innings around singles and twos. When the partnership approached 100, even he couldn’t resist stretching his arms and creaming a Jason Holder delivery wide of mid-off on the rise. It was Holder though, who eventually held the catch at mid-off as Rahane tried to chip Gabriel. That ended the stand on 135, adding to the 82 they’d put up in the first innings to save India the blushes.
It was one of the few moments of cheer for West Indies, who’d begun what turned out to be a humiliating day with the wicket of Kohli in the second over.