Kolkata Test: Sharma, Shami pummel Windies, India win by an innings and 51 runs
Kolkata: Debutant Mohammed Shami produced a devastating spell of reverse swing to return with a dream match haul of nine wickets as India spanked West Indies by an innings and 51 runs in the first cricket Test and take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Ravichandran Ashwin also made it a memorable day by cracking his second Test century and then chipped in with three wickets as the hosts bundled out the visitors for a paltry 168 in the second innings to clinch the match with two days to spare.
Rohit Sharma, too, made his Test debut special, cracking a magnificent 177 in the first of the two-match series which is also retiring legend Sachin Tendulkar`s last outing in international cricket.
Apart from Sharma, the star of the match was undoubtedly Shami who claimed 5/47 in the second innings and returned impressive match figures of 9 for 118 at the Eden Gardens.
Shami`s effort is the second best by an Indian on debut after Narendra Hirwani`s 16/136 against the same opponents in Chennai way back in 1988.
Earlier, Sharma missed out on a double century on debut by 23 runs while Ashwin slammed his second Test ton in a record 280-run stand for the seventh wicket as India extended their lead to a mammoth 219 runs before being bowled out for 453.
Starting their second innings with a huge deficit, West Indies were bundled out for just 168, with off-spinner Ashwin (3/46) providing Shami the support at the other end.
Sharma slammed an exquisite 177 off 301 balls with the help of 23 fours and a six, while Ashwin made his runs off 210 balls, hitting 11 fours.
Making his debut at his home ground, Bengal pacer Shami, who took 4/71 in the first innings, utilised the conditions to maximum effect as he rocked the West Indies batting line-up with his lethal reverse swinging deliveries that skidded in
It was India`s fifth Test victory in a row after their 4-0 rout of Australia as the victory also snapped the West Indies` six-match winning streak.
In their second innings, West Indies collapsed from 101 for one to 168 all out to hand India an easy win.
The two teams will now travel to Mumbai for the final Test and Tendulkar`s last in international cricket.
Ashwin made a couple of key breakthroughs before the 23-year-old Shami blew apart the West Indies batting be getting the old ball to swing considerably.
It was Ashwin who effected the key breakthroughs first up as he did not let Kieran Powell (36) and Darren Bravo (37) steady the ship after Chris Gayle`s (33) early exit.
After Ashwin broke the second-wicket 68-run partnership, Shami got into the rhythm as the Indies lost two wickets in two overs before tea to brighten India`s hope of wrapping up the match on the third day itself.
After a fine spell of 7-0-18-2 that continued post tea, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni made the Bengal pacer bowl from the High Court end and it turned out to be another good move from the `captain Cool`.
Shami had a two-wicket burst with his lethal in-cutters and the third came through Dhoni`s smart work while running out Veerasammy Permaul as the 49th over opened the gates for the Indians. The visitors, at that stage, were on the verge of defeat at 152/8.
Shami first uprooted Darren Sammy`s middle stump and with the fourth ball, he unsettled Shane Shillingford`s offstump en route to his fourth wicket.
Ashwin joined in the party when he had Tino Best and it was a formality from thereon.
The Indies staged a steady recovery with Powell and Bravo to frustrate the Indians for a brief while in the post-lunch session.
Ashwin put down a difficult low catch from Powell while Ojha continued his streak of bad luck as the opener was dropped by Bhuvneshwar at long leg.
Desperate to break the Powell-Bravo partnership, Dhoni tried out various options and even gave the ball to Tendulkar for a second time in the match.
Kohli was hit on his abdomen region because of uneven bounce and had to go out of the field. Ashwin then gave the breakthrough when he trapped Powell with a low delivery.
Samuels was the next batsman to get out as Shami returned before tea to win an lbw appeal in what looked like another dubious decision by English umpire Nigel Llong after Tendulkar`s controversial dismissal yesterday.
It was a gripping seven-over spell from Shami who reversed the ball as the Caribbean outfit once again ran for cover.
Ashwin, at the other end, did not let did not let Bravo get into the groove.
Earlier, midway into the first session, the West Indies triggered a collapse following Sharma`s dismissal as India`s first innings ended at 453 in 129.4 overs. The hosts lost four wickets for 17 runs in the first session.
Off-spinner Shillilngford grabbed 6/167 for his fifth five-wicket haul while rookie left-arm spinner Permaul (2/67) effected the day`s first breakthrough with the prized scalp of Sharma.
Sharma became the second Indian after Shikhar Dhawan (187 against Australia) to score a 150 on debut.
Besides being India`s best, the duo`s massive stand is the third highest overall for the seventh wicket.
They surpassed the previous Indian record of 259 between V V S Laxman (143 not out) and M S Dhoni (132 not out) versus South Africa in February 2010 at the same venue.
Sharma`s match-turning innings, spanning six hours and nine minutes, came to an end due to a misjudgement as he deliberately padded a straighter one from Permaul.
Ashwin, too, did not last long after that and he was bowled around the legs to become Shillingford`s fifth victim.
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