Photo: Jermaine Blackwood plays forward to a delivery during his knock of 62 for the West Indies on day one of the second Test at Sabina Park. Also in the picture is India wicket keeper Wriddhiman Saha. Blackwood top scored in the WI total of 196 all out.
After asking for a green bouncy pitch and getting it, West Indies captain Jason Holder won the toss in the second Test versus India at Sabina Park and inexplicably chose to bat on a dreary, overcast morning. With conditions perfect for bowling, the visitors took full advantage, tearing through the top order of the fickle West Indies batting, leaving the home team struggling at 7-3. A repair job by the experienced Marlon Samuels and Jermaine Blackwood rescued the innings somewhat, but the end of that partnership brought the usual batting collapse as the West Indies were bowled out for 196 just before tea.
Miguel Cummings who replaced Carlos Brathwaite, was the lone change for the Caribbean team, while the Indians named the same eleven that comfortably won the first Test.
The West Indies miserable batting form was once again on display as Ravi Ashwin (5 wicket, 2 maidens, 52 runs) starred with the ball for the Indians.
Kraigg Brathwaite (1) was sent back by Ishant Sharma caught by Pujara at short forward leg with the score on four. Darren Bravo was sent back for a duck the very next ball to be Sharma's second victim, caught by Virat Kohli at second slip, leaving the Caribbean team at 4/2 with just 16 balls bowled.
Rajendra Chandrika's woeful form continued, as he was sent back by Mohammed Shami caught brilliantly at fine gully for five by Kl Rahul to leave the West Indies struggling once again, at 7-3.
Jermaine Blackwood (62) including 7 boundaries and 4 sixes, was very positive as he and his fellow countryman Marlon Samuels put on a partnership of 81 runs for the fourth wicket. While Samuels was more circumspect, the enigmatic Blackwood played a number of shots, including a straight six to bring up his half century.
But just when it seemed that the West Indies has wrestled the initiative back from India, Sharwin struck as Blackwood became the first of his five wickets, going leg before, in the last over before the lunch break, with the West Indies struggling at 88/4.
Resuming after lunch, Marlon Samuels (31) including 5 boundaries and 2 sixes, took a more attacking approach, hitting three consecutive fours off Ashwin in one over. The classy right hander was looking dangerous but became Ashwin's next victim, caught by KL Rahul at short leg, one ball after smashing the bowler for six. At this stage the West Indies were 115/5 and with not much experience to come.
Ashwin ensured that Shane Dowrich did not hang around too long, sending him back to the dressing room, caught behind for five by WP Saha leaving the score at 127/6.
Mohammed Shami then had his second wicket, that of Roston Chase caught by Shikhar Dhawan at slip for 10 with the West Indies helpless at 131/7. Chase never looked comfortable at the wicket against either the spin or the quicks.
Ashwin was not finished as he hunted his 18th five wicket haul in just 34 test matches. The wickets Devendra Bishoo and Jason Holder ensured that he got to the milestone. First he sent back Bishoo caught Shikhar Dhawan at short fine leg before Holder was caught by Rahul at bat pad with the score at 158/9.
Miguel Cummins (24) and Shanon Gabriel (15) put on 38 runs partnership for the last wicket to lift the West indies to 196 all out, Gabriel the last to go, caught by Kohli at short cover off the bowling of Amit Mishra.
When the Indians went to bat they made it look easy as neither opener look troubled. KL Rahul was dropped on 48 by Bravo at short midwicket off the bowling Roston Chase and went on to score his first half century in just his 6th test match, ending the day on 75 not out.
Shikhar Dhawan (27) became Roston Chase's first test wicket, caught brilliantly by Bravo, who had to dive to his right and take a low catch at short cover, making up for his earlier mistake. The Indians were well placed at 87/1 at this stage.
The visitors did not lose any more wickets and were comfortably placed at 126/1 at the end of day 1, trailing the West Indies by just 70 runs with 9 first innings wickets in hand.