Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bagged his 18th five-wicket haul as India dominated the first day of the second Test against the West Indies in Jamaica on Saturday.
Ashwin continued his brilliant form, taking 5-52 as India bowled out the hosts for 196 at Sabina Park in Kingston.
In reply, India were 126-1 at the close of play, trailing by only 70 runs, with Lokesh Rahul on 75 and Cheteshwar Pujara on 18.
Ashwin’s performance, hot on the heels of a century in the first Test in Antigua — where he also took 7-83 in the second innings in a big India victory— reaffirmed his reputation as arguably the world’s best all-rounder.
“I’m very happy for today. A first-day five-wicket haul is obviously something a spinner will cherish,” Ashwin said in an on-field interview. “I thought the ball came out really well and I just took off from the last game where I left off.”
Ashwin revealed a keen tactical mind, saying he studies his batting opponents and tries to plot not only the best way to dismiss them, but also how to keep them from scoring freely.
“I see the situation of the game, pretty much plan to a batsman’s strength, try to see how I can cut the runs and the strong points of opposition batsmen. For example, Jermaine Blackwood really plays well through the off side,” he said, referring to the Windies No. 5, who top-scored with 62.
Blackwood was adjudged LBW to Ashwin, but the bowler most savored the departure of Marlon Samuels, who scored an obdurate 37 and shared a fourth-wicket stand of 81 with Blackwood.
Samuels was caught bat-pad at short-leg.
Earlier, paceman Ishant Sharma greased the wheels by picking up two early wickets his seamers.
The Windies, who won the toss and batted, lost their first three wickets for only seven runs.
New Zealand wrapped up the first Test against Zimbabwe by an innings and 117 runs in Bulawayo yesterday.
The hosts were bowled out for 295 in their second innings, with Sean Williams making 119 and Trent Boult taking four wickets.
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