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December 05 2019
India vs West Indies: Shaw announces his arrival with scintillating century
05 October 2018

Kohli looked set for another hundred and was batting alongside Rishabh Pant (17 not out off 21) at close of play.

Cheteshwar Pujara sizzled on his home turf. Captain Virat Kohli closed in on yet another Test hundred as flawlessly as he does most of the time while playing in familiar conditions. Still, neither of the seasoned duo could overshadow the effort of a teenager debutant on the opening day of the first Test against the West Indies.

Prithvi Shaw repeated the feat of his hundred on First Class debut at the same venue almost two years ago by scoring a scintillating century on his Test debut to announce his arrival on the biggest stage in style at the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium on Thursday. 

Hapless attack

Thanks to Shaw’s excellent 134, his 206-run partnership for the second wicket with Pujara, and Kohli’s unbeaten 72, including a 105-run association with his deputy Ajinkya Rahane for the fourth wicket, India piled on 364 for four against a hapless bowling attack.

Kohli returned to international cricket with a fluent knock against a tiring attack. While Rahane, who edged offie Roston Chase behind the wicket half an hour before close, was scratchy, Kohli was completely at ease.

 

As a result, India tallied 132 runs in 37 overs in the last session. Such was the onslaught by Shaw, supported by Pujara, that the last passage of play appeared dull as compared to the first two sessions.

As if Kemar Roach’s unavailability due to bereavement wasn’t a blow enough, West Indies captain Jason Holder, recovering from a right ankle injury, failed the fitness test just before the toss, resulting in Kraigg Brathwaite taking over. The stand-in captain lost the toss, and Kohli didn’t hesitate to bat in tailormade conditions.

Pacer Shannon Gabriel got one to move in a little bit in the opening over to dismiss K.L. Rahul. The onus was on young Shaw, who had opened his account off the second ball with a backfoot punch, and Pujara to ensure the middle-order wasn’t exposed early on. 

Instinctive game 

Shaw preferred to play his instinctive game and what followed for the next four hours was exceptional display of batting, albeit, against a largely mediocre bowling attack. 

He went after Keemo Paul, hitting the new-ball bowler for four fours, including three in an over, to force a bowling change. A backfoot punch through point in Paul’s first over was followed with a flick, a leg-glance and a slash over the slip cordon in the next.

Pujara then joined the act soon after with two delightful straight-drives off debutant Sherman Lewis. Leggie Devendra Bishoo was welcomed into the attack in the 11th over with a paddled sweep by Pujara and lofted drive by Shaw, helping India race to 50 in 10.3 overs. 

When offie Roston Chase was introduced in the 16th over as the fifth bowler, it was clear that West Indies was running out of ideas. Shaw — who crossed the fifty off just 56 balls with a tap to long-on off Chase — and Pujara continued to plunder runs at will, with the former looking far from being a batsman playing his first Test innings.

At lunch, India had raced to 133 for one in just 25 overs, with Shaw safely placed in the 70s, and Pujara, having crossed his 19th fifty. The duo came out all guns blazing after the break, with Shaw targeting Bishoo, while Pujara going after Gabriel. 

Standing ovation

In no time, Shaw was in sight of the three-figure mark. The moment came half an hour after the break when he punched Gabriel to deep-point and raise both his hands in the air to a standing ovation from virtually everyone in the stadium.

Pujara soon perished to one that pitched in the perfect channel to give the other debutant Lewis a reason to smile — claiming his maiden wicket. 

And on the cusp of tea, Shaw was dismissed in the softest manner, lobbying one from Chase straight back to the bowler after appearing to have been caught in two minds.

But the Mumbai wonderboy had ensured by then that he was made for a long haul and India was in the cruise control mode on the first day itself.

Scoreboard

India 1st innings: Prithvi Shaw c & b Bishoo 134; KL Rahul lbw b Gabriel 0; Cheteshwar Pujara c Dowrich b Lewis 86; Virat Kohli not out 72; Ajinkya Rahane c Dowrich b Chase 41; Rishabh Pant not out 17. Extras: (b-9, lb-1, nb-4) 14

Total: (for four wickets in 89 overs) 364

Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-209, 3-232, 4-337

West Indies bowling: Gabriel 18-1-66-1, Paul 10-1-41-0, Lewis 12-0-56-1, Bishoo 30-1-113-1, Chase 16-0-67-1, Brathwaite 3-0-11-0.

 

 

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