Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
India 288 for 4 (Kohli 87*, Rohit 80, Jaiswal 57, Holder 1-30, Warrican 1-55) vs West Indies
After having been outplayed in three days in Dominica, West Indies fought back with four wickets on the first afternoon in Port-of-Spain, but it was India's day once again, thanks to strong bookends. Captain Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal forged a century opening partnership before Virat Kohli grafted for an unbeaten 87 in what was his 500th international game.
Kohli had walked into bat when India were 153 for 2 and he watched them slump further to 182 for 4 by tea. But Kohli defended resolutely, ran hard between the wickets, and was prepared to wait for loose deliveries. He took 21 balls to get off the mark and continued to accumulate in slow but steady fashion. Ravindra Jadeja, too, dug in, contributing 36 to an unbroken 106-run stand for the fifth wicket as India closed out the day like they had begun: playing out a wicketless session.
The passage of play in the morning session wasn't as attritional as the following two sessions. Rohit and Jaiswal ensured that India rattled along at nearly five runs an over to begin, scoring 121 together in 26 overs without losing a wicket.
Having shown remarkable restraint on debut in Dominica, Jaiswal dashed out of the blocks on a more benign Port-of-Spain track. Rohit, too, kept pulling in the air, from wide lines as well as from his body, despite the presence of two men in the deep on the leg-side boundary. Rohit needed 72 balls to get to his half-century, while Jaiswal got there off just 49 balls. Rohit and Jaiswal became the first Indian opening pair to have struck up back-to-back century stands in Test cricket in this millennium. S Ramesh and Devang Gandhi were the previous Indian opening pair with back-to-back century partnerships,
in 1999 against New Zealand.
West Indies then changed the mood and tempo of play by striking four times in the afternoon session. Jason Holder, who kept threatening the outside edge of Jaiswal, made the first incision when he had him caught by debutant Kirk McKenzie at deepish gully for 57 off 74 balls.
McKenzie could have cut Jaiswal's innings short on 4 had he not let a thick outside edge burst through his hands at gully in the sixth over. Jaiswal could have also been dismissed on 52 in the last over before lunch, but Alick Athanaze grassed an easier chance at first slip off Holder.
Holder relentlessly probed away outside off though, often with two gully fielders in place, and earned his reward in the second session, with McKenzie confidently holding on to Jaiswal's catch this time.
Kemar Roach and Jomel Warrican then accounted for the wickets of Shubman Gill and Rohit respectively. It was Shannon Gabriel who capped the afternoon session by sending Ajinkya Rahane's off stump cartwheeling with a rapid inducker. Gabriel, who returned to the playing XI in place of an
ill Rahkeem Cornwall, couldn't pose much of a threat to India's openers. His morning shift of four overs cost West Indies 24 runs, but he came back to produce a much sharper spell in the afternoon.
Warrican got the ball to grip and turn as the day progressed, but Kohli was fully forward to smother it. Kohli refused to take any risks against the left-arm fingerspinner on a slow surface and just looked to wear him down.
Alzarri Joseph targeted Kohli's upper body with short balls from around the wicket, with a long leg and deep square in place, but Kohli blunted him too. Joseph's extra bounce - or the lack thereof - caused Jadeja to lose his shape more often at the other end before he finally got the pull away in the 70th over.
Kraigg Brathwaite then turned to the part-time offspin of Athanaze and himself, but West Indies couldn't separate Kohli and Jadeja on day one.
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