Vastavam web: Ajinkya Rahane led India’s efforts as the West Indies held the upper hand on Day 1 of the first Test in Antigua. With pacers Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel taking quick early wickets, including those of Cheteshwar Pujara and captain Virat Kohli, India were rescued from a precarious situation by Rahane’s 81 off 163 balls and his partnerships with KL Rahul and Hanuma Vihari. As rains called to an early end to the first day, India were 203/6.
West Indies won the toss and chose to field first at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound on Thursday. Mayank Agarwal was Roach’s first victim as he edged behind in the fifth over of the day. The umpire didn’t raise his finger but Jason Holder went for the review. Replays showed clear contact between bat and ball with the pad nowhere in the picture and Richard Kettleborough had to change his decision.
In the same over, Roach managed to get an edge off Pujara, who was India’s highest scorer in India’s series win in Australia earlier in the year. Three overs later, Kohli tried to cut Gabriel over point but ended up looping the ball towards gully. The fielder dove well to take the catch and top ranked Test batsman in the world walked back with just nine runs to his name.
Rahane and Rahul then showed restraint as they weathered out the storm and went about repairing the Indian innings. Rahul was six runs away from his 12th Test half century when he edged Roston Chase behind and had to walk, his stand with Rahane ending on 68 runs. But Rahane found an able partner in Hanuma Vihari. Vihari was with the India A team that toured West Indies earlier in the month and was at ease with the conditions in the middle. He put up 82 runs with the Indian vice captain before becoming Roach’s third victim of the day.
Rahane could not see off the day, however. He was surprised by the extra bounce and movement that Gabriel got and ended up chopping on as he looked to punch it on the back foot. At the end of the day, Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja were in the middle for India.