R Ashwin wrecks West Indies with six-wicket haul

Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bagged six wickets on debut in West Indies’ second Innings to join an elite list of Indian bowlers to have accomplished this rare feat in Tests AFP

New Delhi: Nov 8, 2011

Ravichandran Ashwin made his debut memorable with a five-wicket haul (six for 47) as India bundled out the West Indies for 180 in their second innings to set themselves a target of 276 in the first cricket Test.

In pursuit of a stiff target, Virender Sehwag (20 not out) and Gautam Gambhir (17 not out) then kept up the good work by guiding India to 38 for no loss at tea on the third day, leaving the hosts with another 238 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Sehwag was lucky to have survived as he was dropped by Ravi Rampaul in his follow-through.

Inspired by Pragyan Ojha’s first-innings performance, Ashwin (6/47) stole the limelight through some smart spin bowling on a Feroz Shah Kotla track where 25 wickets have gone down in the last two days.

In the process, Ashwin became the seventh Indian to begin his Test career with a five-for, and his match haul nine for 128 is also the second-best for an Indian on debut behind Narendra Hirwani’s 16 for 136, incidentally, against the same opponents, in Chennai in 1988.

Ashwin, who dismissed opener Kieran Powell late yesterday evening to trigger the slide, deservingly signalled the end of the West Indies innings by having Ravi Rampaul caught at deep midwicket.

Just before that the 25-year-old off-spinner from Chennai removed Darren Sammy (42) with his trademark carom ball that skidded off the wicket, hardly giving the West Indian skipper any time to get his bat down.

But nothing would have given Ashwin more satisfaction than the wicket of Shivnarine Chanderpaul (47) would have. The first-innings centurion was just threatening to take the game away from the hosts when Ashwin got the ball to turn across to have the Guyanese trapped.

Chanderpaul’s was the wicket India had been looking for, and Ashwin responded to the team’s needs, though the tail did hung in for a while to frustrate the Indians.

Thanks to Ashwin’s effort, it did not take India more than 42.3 overs on the third day to bowl out the visitors, who suffered due to a lack of partnership. That the 40-run stand for the eighth wicket between Chanderpaul and Sammy turned out to be the highest of the innings, shows that the batsmen failed to apply themselves on the tricky pitch.

Earlier Ashwin, along with another debutant, Umesh Yadav, led a strong Indian fightback by claiming two wickets apiece as West Indies went to lunch at a precarious 109 for seven.

Resuming at overnight 21 for two and with 116 runs ahead, West Indies lost five wickets for an addition of 88 runs to let go of the advantage they claimed by earning a vital 95-run first-innings lead after bowling out India for 209 Monday.

First-innings centurion Chanderpaul was batting on 39 while Sammy was giving him company on eight as West Indies struggled to stretch their overall lead to 204 at the lunch break.

Besides off-spinner Aswhin and pacer Yadav’s double blow, pace spearhead Ishant Sharma accounted for one wicket. Ashwin, who had dismissed Kieran Powell Monday evening, at that point of time, had figures of three for 21 in 14 overs.

Kirk Edwards started the day on a positive note for the West Indies when he leaned forward to caress Pragyan Ojha through extra cover for a boundary. But Sharma accounted for the wicket of night-watchman Fidel Edwards when he had him caught behind in the day’s third over.

The lanky pacer could have another in the same over but Aswhin, despite a valiant attempt, could not hold on to Darren Bravo’s uppish drive at cover. The drop however, did not prove to be a big miss for India as Ashwin made amends by sending Bravo back with a tossed-up ball that did not turn much, hitting Bravo on the pads.

It took Ashwin just four balls to send back Marlon Samuels who was bemused by the bowler’s trademark carom ball.

After drawing the batsman forward the ball turned away on landing, disturbing the off-stump.

Yadav, meanwhile, after a none-too-impressive outing in the first innings, was putting in a lot more effort. And it bore fruit when he dislodged Kirk Edwrads’ off-stump after the batsman decided to shoulder arm, for his maiden Test wicket.

Edwards scored 33 off 80 deliveries, and found the fence four times.

The Vidarbha pacer then had wicketkeeper-batsman Carlton Baugh when he induced a thick edge through to skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. (PTI)

Brief Scores: West Indies 304 (Shivnarine Chanderpaul 118, Kraigg Braithwaite 63; Pragyan Ojha 6 for 72, R Ashwin 3 for 81) & 180 (Shivnarine Chanderpaul 47, Darren Sammy 42, Kirk Edwards 33; R Ashwin 6 for 47, Umesh Yadav 2 for 36) lead India 209 (Virender Sehwag 55, Rahul Dravid 54; Darren Sammy 3 for 35, Ravi Rampaul 2 for44) & 38 for 0 (Virender Sehwag 20*, Gautam Gambhir 17*) by 238 runs.

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