India vs West Indies, 1st Test: Prithvi Shaw’s record debut fifty leads India’s dominance
Shaw sped to a fifty on Test debut, becoming the youngest Indian to do so. @AFP

Prithvi Shaw, the youngest specialist batsman on Test debut since Sachin Tendulkar in 1989, showed why he has long been singled out for a career at this level with a confidence-coated innings that helped India to 133/1 in 25 overs by lunch on day one of the first Test versus West Indies. Shaw was 75 off 74 balls at the break having become the youngest Indian to score a half-century on Test debut – at 18 years and 329 days.

On a very good batting surface at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot, Shaw batted with the assurance of a seasoned pro to turn a scoreline of 3/1 following the loss of KL Rahul for a duck in the opening over into a dominant one, while producing numerous shots that dripped with the memories of Tendulkar.

With him was Cheteshwar Pujara, looking ominously comfortable on 56 at his home ground, the stand for the second wicket having swelled to 130.

West Indies, already without Kemar Roach, were further depleted with news that their captain Jason Holder was ruled out with a sprained ankle. The absence of their two most-capped bowlers was stark. Keemo Paul, one Test old, conceded 18 runs in his first three overs. Sherman Lewis, the debutant, struggled to locate his radar and looked well out of depth. Devendra Bishoo’s first five overs cost 24 without any noticeable turn. All this worked wonderfully well for Shaw.

The debutant looked on as Rahul was given lbw for 0 in the first over from Shannon Gabriel, but did not appear rattled at the slightest. His first runs in Test cricket came with a delicate push into the covers for three, his first boundary a cracking slap past point of Paul. In Paul’s second over, Shaw unfurled three boundaries: a stunning flick off the pads, a glance to fine leg and a slash over the slips. Each shot had the Tendulkar stamp, and in no time Shaw was 22 off 16 balls.

After a period of singles, Shaw moved from 34 to 42 in the span of three balls, with two boundaries off Paul in the pacer’s second spell, each with sparkling timing. His fifty came up off his 56th ball faced, a straight drive off Roston Chase being received by loving cheer from the few spectators gathered at the venue – most of them school children. In Chase’s next over, Shaw put away a half-tracker and a floated up delivery to the extra cover boundary in succession, and with growing disdain.

Pujara was also the beneficiary of some inconsistent bowling at a venue where he has racked up over 1000 first-class runs at an average of over 68, including a career-best 302 not out. Lewis was punched past the stumps twice with sumptuous timing and then cracked off the back foot, before Bishoo strayed onto the pads and was paddled for four more. From 2 off 21 balls, Pujara suddenly had 21 off 28. He followed Shaw to his own fifty off 67 balls.

LUNCH: India 133/1 in 25 overs (Shaw 75*, Pujara 56*) vs West Indies