India captain Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten 143 to put India in a powerful position at 302-4 after Thursday’s opening day of the first Test against the West Indies. The pitch wasn’t as responsive as many had thought it would be but the ball was new and Shannon Gabriel was bending his back. With the game just four overs old, Gabriel decided to test the Indian openers with a few snorters. Shikhar Dhawan bore brunt of that assault. After leaving a good length ball, Dhawan suddenly found himself in an awkward position to a delivery that climbed up to his face. Shaping up to flick the ball, Dhawan ended fending the ball without looking at it. The ball gets a leading edge but fortunately for Dhawan, doesn’t carry to point. Next delivery was straighter and threatened to kiss Dhawan’s visor before flying into the wicket-keeper’s gloves. Sniffing a chance, Gabriel added a short square leg and tried to target Dhawan’s ribcage. Dhawan was again found wanting. Next delivery too was played without caution but Dhawan got the single he was desperately hunting. The scoreboard said Darren Bravo caught Ajinkya Rahane off Devendra Bishoo in the second ball of the 68th over but it might not have happened had Marlon Samuels not dived spectacularly to stop almost a sure boundary off Kohli’s bat the previous ball. Batting on 98, Kohli was gifted an overpitched delivery that he beautifully drove through the covers. That should have ideally brought Kohli his century but a brilliant effort from Samuels meant that he had to be satisfied with just a single. Probably that rankled most on Kohli’s mind when he saw Rahane make a complete mess of the next delivery from Bishoo.
Ashwin comes ahead of Saha
In a largely predictable day for Indian batting, this was one move that came as a surprise. As wicket-keeper batsman, Wriddhiman Saha should have come ahead of R Ashwin but statistics say that the off-spinner not only has two Test centuries to his name but also has an impressive average of 31.68 in 32 matches. Saha on the other hand, averages 21.58 from 11 matches. Maybe Virat Kohli was swayed by this. And it has worked well so far. Apart from contributing, Ashwin also gave Kohli the freedom to control the pace of the game in the last session. The partnership yielded 66 runs in 22.