On an eventful day two in which two centuries were registered while nine wickets fell, the hosts consolidated their strong position at the end of Thursday to post 649-9dec in their first innings. The visitors unravelled fast in their reply and had slumped to 94-6 before stumps were finally drawn on Friday.
Here, we take a look at the key talking points from day two with the visitors staring at huge first-innings deficit.
KOHLI AND PANT INFLICT MORE MISERY ON HAPLESS WINDIES
The visitors had a tough day under the Rajkot sun on Thursday and there was more pain in store for them when they came out to take the field on day two. With Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant well-set, there was no respite for the Windies’ bowlers as runs flowed unabated in the morning session.
It was Pant who did the bulk of the run-scoring in the first session with Kohli content to sit back and play second fiddle. The young wicketkeeper batsman took his toll on a tired and worn out West Indies attack with four sixes flowing off his bat. In contrast, Kohli was a picture of concentration at the crease and accumulated runs with the old-school approach of wearing down the opposition.
The pair added 133 runs for the fifth wicket with Pant scoring 92 of those himself. The 21-year-old missed out on a second Test ton after mishitting Devendra Bishoo to short third-man but Kohli continued his march and brought up an inevitable 24th Test ton in the second session.
The two batsman put paid to any hopes the visitors had of clawing their way back into the game early on day two with their contrasting innings.
LOCAL BOY JADEJA DELIGHTS WITH MAIDEN TEST TON
It was written in the stars. For all his years of service in international cricket, Ravindra Jadeja had never been really able to fulfill his batting promise. For a man who had registered three first-class triple tons for Saurashtra, an international Test ton had eluded him for far too long.
Back on his home ground in Rajkot, the platform had been perfectly laid out for the India all-rounder to shine after Kohli and Pant’s strong showings in the first half of the day. Following their dismissals, Jadeja took it upon himself to push the run-scoring and he thrived in doing so against a tiring Windies attack. The left-hander had to bat with the tail at the latter stages of his innings as he approached a maiden Test hundred.
It seemed like he would run out of partners before getting to the milestone but some decent blocking at the other end by last man Mohammed Shami ensured that the local boy would not miss out on his crowning moment. Jadeja got to the elusive mark with a single and let out a deafening roar as he brought out his customary sword-wielding celebrations.
SHAMI AND SPINNERS STRANGLE WINDIES BATSMEN
With Kohli calling in his men following Jadeja’s landmark ton, a sapped and drained Windies were given a tough task of batting out the final session on day two.
With a mountain to climb in front of them, the visitors faltered and faltered hard. In the very third over of the innings, Mohammed Shami dismissed skipper Kraigg Brathwaite with a sharp in-swinger after setting him up earlier with deliveries that went away from the right-hander. The umpires checked for a front-foot no-ball and adjudged the batsman out despite Shami’s foot being on the line. The India pacer struck again in his next over by trapping Kieran Powell lbw with the West Indies opener even opting for a futile review.
Things went from bad to worse for Brathwaite’s men with Shimron Hetmyer run-out by a mile following a horrible mix-up with Sunil Ambris. The cats were well and truly set among the pigeons for the men from the Caribbean when Ravi Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav and Jadeja came on to bowl. All three Indian spinner struck early in the spells with Ashwin accounting for the dangerous Shai Hope while Jadeja accounted for Ambris. Kuldeep, meanwhile, beat Shane Dowrich all ends up to castle the wicketkeeper batsman at the stroke of stumps to leave the visitors reeling at 74-6.
West Indies lost skipper Kraigg Brathwaite in the very third over of their innings after the batsman was castled by Mohammed Shami in the final session of day two. The India pacer struck again in the fifth over of the innings by removing Kieran Powell.
Things went from bad to worse for the visitors when Ravi Ashwin struck with only his second over. Promising talent Shai Hope was clean-bowled by the off-spinner as West Indies slumped to 21-3. Then, a horrible mix-up in the middle saw Shimron Hetmyer run-out by Ravindra Jadeja as India tightened the screws. Jadeja then got into the act by removing Sunil Ambris as the visitors were reduced to 49-5.
Kuldeep Yadav did not take too long to get into the thick of things himself with the wrist-spinner castling Shane Dowrich to inflict further misery on the visitors.
On his home ground, local boy Ravindra Jadeja notched up his maiden Test ton with only last man Mohammed Shami for company. India declared their first innings at 649-9 when tea was taken on day two at Rajkot.
In the second session, Kohli’s 139-run innings was brought to an end by Devendra Bishoo after the India batsman had gone past 1,000 Test runs in the calendar year. The West Indies leg-spinner struck again moments later by dismissing Ravichandran Ashwin for seven.
Resuming the innings from their overnight score of 364-4 at Rajkot, Rishabh Pant and Kohli kept the runs ticking on day two with the former taking the attack to the Windies bowlers with an aggressive innings littered with boundaries.
Pant was the only batsman to fall in the first session on Friday with the youngster missing out on his second Test ton by just eight runs after being dismissed by Devendra Bishoo.
Earlier on day one, debutant Prithvi Shaw wrote himself into the history books with a classy innings of 134. Shaw’s innings saw him become the 15th Indian batsman to register a Test century on debut while he is the youngest of them all to do so.
Can India pile on the pressure on the visitors on day two? Don’t miss any of the action from Rajkot by following our live ball-by-ball updates below.
Kohli was not the only batsman to shine on Friday with young Rishabh Pant catching the eye with a quick-fire 92 in what was his maiden Test innings on Indian soil.
Here, we take a closer look at the wicketkeeper-batsman’s gutsy innings at Rajkot.
RUNS SCORED: 92
BALLS FACED: 84
The stage had been perfectly set for Rishabh Pant to do his thing following Prithvi Shaw’s debut ton. With the ever-reliable Virat Kohli giving him company at the crease, Pant was given the license to play his natural attacking style and the youngster didn’t think twice before taking the attack to the West Indies’ bowlers. Showing equal disdain for both spinners and pacers alike, the left-hander slammed the ball to all parts of the ground on day two of the Test.
He dealt primarily in boundaries with the flat wicket at Rajkot giving the bowlers no respite. Notching up his half-century with a stylish six off Keemo Paul, Pant was looking good for his second Test ton but fell eight runs short of the mark in the end after slicing a Devendra Bishoo googly into the hands of short third-man.
We all know how dangerous Pant can be when he is given the license to free his arms, as shown by his performances for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL. With Kohli content to sit back and let the youngster do all the attacking in the morning session, there were fireworks aplenty in Rajkot as Pant turned on the style.
Making full use of his brute power, Pant went after everything in his swinging arc as the boundaries flowed. Just like a certain Virender Sehwag, the youngster showed no respect for lines and lengths as he went at over a run-a-ball. His fearless brand of batting paid dividends and was the reason India for India scoring a mammoth 142 runs in a single session.
In 2018 Test matches, Rishabh Pant scores at 4.52rpo.— Ben Jones (@benjonescricket) October 5, 2018
In 2018 ODIs, MS Dhoni scores at 4.04rpo.#INDvWI
You live by the sword, you die by the sword. While Pant had been middling many of his hits to the boundary fence, some of them came through streaky edges or mishits. His attacking approach looks great when it pays off but can look ugly when it doesn’t.
With the 21-year-old nearing a second Test ton, some caution would have been done him a world of good. The wicketkeeper-batsman unfortunately played one stroke too many in the end and ended up throwing away his wicket after trying to hit Bishoo out of the ground.
VERDICT – 8/10
It was a placid track at track at Rajkot on which most of the India’s specialist batsmen made merry. Pant, however, stood out from the rest of the pack with his attacking gung-ho and fearless approach. It is a testament to his remarkable hitting powers that in the 133-run fifth-wicket stand between him and Kohli, the India skipper only contributed 37 runs, with 92 coming off the bat of Pant.
A second Test ton would have been the icing on the cake for the Delhi youngster but he lost his head in the pursuit of quick runs. Nevertheless, his innings generated plenty of momentum for India and helped them consolidate their position against a hapless Windies. His 92-run blitz might have come on the comforts of a lifeless home track but Pant continues to show that he has a bright future ahead of him and that he could be India’s long-term answer to the wicketkeeping role.
India’s own Gilchrist in the making. Hate to label someone, but Rishabh Pant is the man. #INDvsWI— K Sudarshan (@SudarshanEMA) October 5, 2018