India clinch first Test against West Indies by 63 runs
Kingston: India allowed the West Indies tail-enders to delay the inevitable before wrapping up the first cricket Test with a comfortable 63-run victory inside four days and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match Test series here on Thursday.
Chasing a victory target of 326, West Indies never recovered from the twin-blow dealt by debutant Praveen Kumar dismissing Darren Bravo (41) and Shivanarine Chanderpaul (30) as they were all out for 262 in 68.2 overs.
The final pair of Devendra Bishoo (26, 33 balls, 2x4, 1x6) and Fidel Edwards (15 not out, 54 balls, 1x4) frustrated the Indian bowlers for around 10 overs after lunch. It was Suresh Raina who effected a freak dismissal with the ball rolling onto the stumps after hitting Bishoo`s thigh-pads to bring an end to the proceedings.
It was a clinical performance by the Indian bowlers with Praveen being the pick snaring three for 42 and ending with a six-wicket haul in his very first Test match.
Ishant Sharma (3/81) bowled some poor deliveries but got crucial breakthroughs. The Indians blew away the middle and lower-middle order in the morning session where the home team needing a further 195 for a victory lose six wickets with an addition of 95 runs.
This was India`s second victory at the Sabina Park having clinched the series with a win during their tour of 2006. This is also their fifth overall win on Caribbean soil.
The two teams now travel to Barbados where the second Test match will be held at Kensington Oval from June 28.
It was Praveen`s incisive morning spell that sealed the issue for the Indians after a 68- run stand for the fourth wicket stand between Bravo and Chanderpaul. From 148 for three, the hosts were suddenly struggling at 149 for five.
The track was deteriorating as some deliveries kept taking off from the good length spot while a few kept very low. In general, it was a struggle for survival for the West Indian batsmen. All the lower order batsmen like Ravi Rampaul (34, 32 balls, 6x4, 1x6), Bishoo and Edwards showed stomach for fight, it was pity that the top-order didn`t have enough gumption to do so.
The first half an hour didn`t have any indication of what was to follow as Praveen got into the act. Bravo who had looked confident shuffled across as Praveen angled
one into him that sent his leg-stump for a toss.
Chanderpaul was one man who could have been depended for his doggedness but he too perished when a Praveen delivery stopped and came onto him as he committed onto a cover drive.
All he could do was to lob a simple catch to Suresh Raina as it was virtually all over for the Caribbeans.
Carlton Baugh (0) was done in by an off-break from Harbhajan that kicked up to take his glove off to the leg-slip.
Darren Sammy (25, 11 balls, 1x4, 3x6) came in and blasted Harbhajan for three consecutive sixes but didn`t have enough patience to survive.
Amit Mishra got into the act as his flighted delivery dipped in late as Sammy failed to check his shot and offered simple catch to VVS Laxman at covers.
West Indies vice-captain Brendan Nash (9) never looked a part of the proceedings during his 36-ball stay. Nash who has been struggling this season was finding it difficult to negotiate both pace and spin as he was just trying to push and prod with tail-enders for support.
Failing to get the ball out of square, Nash missed a long hop from Mishra as the ball kept low and hit him plumb on the sheen. Nash was the eight West Indies wicket to fall.
Rampaul on the otherhand carried a grim battle with Fidel Edwards for company. He hit a few clean blows as the ninth wicket partnership yielded 35 runs and helped West Indies cross the 200-run mark.
Ishant Sharma who came back for his second spell bowled a few needless short-pitch stuff to Rampaul. However the delivery that got Rampaul was snorter that suddenly rose from short of good length. The batsmen couldn`t get out of the way as it kissed his gloves on the way to Dhoni who had to jump in order to take a smart one-handed catch.
For those who had labelled Praveen as a ODI specialist would be in for a surprise after his six-wicket haul in his opening Test match. With favourable conditions, Praveen could prove to be a handful for any opposition with his ability to move the ball both ways.
This performance may just be good enough to seal his place in the Indian Test squad that will tour England next month for a four-match Test series. He could well prove to be a an ideal new-ball partner for Zaheer on overcast English conditions.
The other positive aspect will be Suresh Raina getting back to form with a fantastic 82 in the first innings and the incisive spells bowled by Ishant Sharma.