Pragyan Ojha (right) bagged his sixth five-wicket haul in Test cricket © IANS

The jubilant mood on the first day has perfectly set up the atmosphere for the day to follow as Sachin Tendulkar keeps a billion hopes alive with an unbeaten 38. Abhijit Banare recounts the first day of the landmark Test in an otherwise ordinary batting performance from the West Indians.
Pragyan Ojha spins the web — Turning Point
It wouldn’t be too exaggerating to say that it was one of the easiest five-wicket haul you would see in the game of cricket. He struck immediately after lunch removing Kieran Powell. It seemed as though Ravichandran Ashwin, who dominated in the first session, had allowed Pragyan Ojha to grab some spotlight with a few wickets. However, thanks to some lacklustre batting against spin, Ojha continued to break the West Indian batting.
Even though the Indians performed excellently, the visitors were found wanting against the spinners. They had a perfect manual when Cheteshwar Pujara and Sachin Tendulkar batted with positivity. Shane Shillingford appeared as threatening as the Indian spinners. Yet, the positive mindset with which the Indian batsmen dealt using their feet and reading the length of the ball perfectly showed it is not tough to score even if the wicket has some purchase.


Ravichandran Ashwin (left) became the fifth fastest bowler to bag 100 Test wickets © IANS

Ravichandran Ashwin completes landmark 100 wickets

With turn and bounce every spinner bowls with his tail up. MS Dhoni brought in Ashwin early in the day. With the bounce available early on, Ashwin troubled the batsman consistently. The confidence is visible in the off-spinner as he has avoided using different varieties and banked upon the traditional off-spinners. By keeping it simple and earning results, Ashwin is back in the same form from where he started his career. And the good batting form to rubs off as a motivating factor in the overall performance.

Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar remain unsung heroes

While the spinners turned the situation in the second session, one must not forget the contribution of Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who pitched the ball up and made full use of the juicy early morning wicket at Wankhede. The big wicket of the Chris Gayle was bagged by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The young swing bowler deserved the wicket as he consistently went past the outside edge of batsmen throughout the day and in the end got the wicket which many bowlers love to remember for a long time. Meanwhile, Shami continued his good form bowling with the same energy and pace.

Sachin Tendulkar’s confident 38 sets up for an exciting second morning
The day started with the felicitation of the Little Master with a postage stamp and guard of honour from both teams. However all that mattered was what happened on the field and the opportunity came very early on the first day itself.
The deafening cheers were enough to indicate what the historic moment meant when Tendulkar came out to bat. Carrying the expectations of many, he didn’t disappoint even in his final essay remaining unbeaten on a well-timed 38.
It would be nothing short of a fairytale to see the Little Master complete his 52nd Test ton. And even if he does the expectations will not end there as he is close to the landmark of 16,000 Test runs — still 115 away. Apart from the majestic strokes which he played on both sides of the wicket, Tendulkar looked extremely confident. As the commentators aptly pointed after a few deliveries, that his feet movement had become much more fluent. Among the spectators were his coach, mother, and the entire family. Even as the image of his mother flashed on the giant screen, the maestro looked completely unfazed.
While the stadium was half-filled on the first day, one can be sure that no inches will be left on the second morning as Tendulkar will step out to bat fresh. And who knows if India post a mammoth total, it could be the last time the world will watch the legend bat.
In Photos: India vs West Indies 2nd Test, Day 1
In Photos: Special moments of Sachin Tendulkar’s 200th Test
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)