Alick Athanaze shows spark on debut but India firmly in charge

Tea West Indies 137 for 8 (Cornwall 8*, Roach 0*, Ashwin 4-49, Jadeja 2-24) vs India

R Ashwin's four wickets put India on top at tea on the opening day of the first Test at Windsor Park. Back in the playing XI after being left out for the World Test Championship final, Ashwin dismissed Tagenarine Chanderpaul and Kraigg Brathwaite in the first session, and added Alzarri Joseph and debutant Alick Athanaze to his kitty towards the end of the second. As usual, Ashwin found good support from Ravindra Jadeja, who chipped in with a wicket on either side of lunch.

Twenty-four-year-old Athanaze was the only West Indies batter to offer any resistance. Last month, he had scored the joint-fastest half-century by anyone on ODI debut. On Wednesday, the left-hander showed he had the temperament for Test cricket as well. With wickets tumbling around him, Athanaze batted with a mix of caution and aggression but his stay came to an end when he top-edged a pull against Ashwin and was out for 47.

In the morning, Brathwaite won the toss and opted to bat first on a pitch with plenty of moisture in it. Mohammed Siraj found the movement off the surface to beat Brathwaite's outside edge three times in one over but he also strayed down the leg side more than once. Jaydev Unadkat was a lot more disciplined, bowling two maidens and conceding just four runs in his first four overs. He did fetch Brathwaite's outside edge but it fell well short of second slip.

Ashwin was introduced into the attack as early as the ninth over. He found Chanderpaul's inside edge with his very first ball but it went past short leg.

The offspinner, though, wasn't to be denied for long. In his third over, Ashwin went wide of the crease from around the wicket and got the ball to land around middle stump. Chanderpaul looked to defend on the front foot but the ball turned just enough to beat the outside edge and hit the top of off. Having accounted for Shivnarine Chanderpaul four times in the past, Ashwin became the fifthhttps://www.espncricinfo.com/story/wi-vs-ind-1st-test-r-ashwin-the-latest-to-claim-a-father-son-duo-in-test-cricket-1387027 bowler to dismiss a father-son pair in Test cricket.

Continuing around the wicket, Ashwin got rid of Brathwaite too. The West Indies captain tried to loft him over mid-on; instead, he ended up skying it to Rohit Sharma at extra cover.

Shardul Thakur had Raymon Reifer caught behind in his first over, courtesy of a low catch by debutant Ishan Kishan, to make it 47 for 3. He could have had Jermaine Blackwood too but the leading edge just evaded a diving Shubman Gill at cover.

On the last ball before lunch, however, Blackwood miscued Jadeja to the right of mid-off where Mohammed Siraj leapt in the air to take a one-handed stunner behind his body.

Joshua Da Silva became Jadeja's second victim soon after lunch. The wicketkeeper-batter went to cut Jadeja but extra bounce and little room resulted in an outside edge, which Kishan pouched on the second attempt.

Ashwin too extracted prodigious turn in the second session, troubling both Athanaze and Holder. But the duo didn't miss out on rare loose deliveries. Neither batter hesitated in taking the aerial route and added 41 for the sixth wicket to take West Indies past 100.

The stand was broken when Holder fell into a short-ball trap laid by Siraj. The bowler banged one into the pitch and Holder pulled it straight into the hands of deep-backward square leg. A couple of overs later, Siraj hit Athanaze on the tip of the helmet with a bouncer as the batter took his eyes off the ball.

While Alzarri Joseph, sent in ahead of Rahkeem Cornwall, could manage only four before Ashwin had him caught at short third, Athanaze was looking good for a half-century. He had the opportunity to reach there with a boundary when Ashwin bowled a short ball. Athanaze had pulled a similar delivery from Ashwin for four in the morning session, but this time he erred in execution.

His wicket meant Cornwall is the only recognised batter left, with the doughty Kemar Roach for the company and Jomel Warrican to follow.