India beat West Indies by 257 runs at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica on Monday to complete a 2-0 whitewash over the hosts. The victory gives Virat Kohli and Co. their first series win in the ICC World Test Championship, thus taking them to the top of the table with 120 points.
The thumping win in Jamaica was 28th in Tests for Virat Kohli, which made him the most successful Indian captain in the traditional format of the sport.
Chasing a near-impossible target of 468, West Indies batting once again crumbled under pressure, like a deck of cards as they caved in for 210 in 59.5 overs, early in the second session of the fourth day.
The tour saw Virat Kohli’s team have clean sweep in two formats (3-0 in T20Is, 2-0 in Tests) while poor weather robbed them in another format (2-0 in 3-match ODI series).
The bowling quartet of Ishant Sharma (2/37 in 12 overs), Mohammed Shami (3/65 in 16 overs), Jasprit Bumrah (1/31 in 11 overs) and lone spinner Ravindra Jadeja (3/58 in 16.5 overs) were relentless in their pursuit of maintaining a tight leash on the home team batsmen.
Such was India’s dominance in the two Test matches that West Indies couldn’t even cross 250 in any of their four innings and the only half-century was scored by Shamarh Brooks (50) in this game.
The win took India’s points tally to 120 after two games and they lead the nine-team table even though Pakistan, Bangladesh and South Africa are yet to begin their bilateral campaign as a part of the championship.
As the dark clouds hovered over the Sabina Park during the post-lunch session, the Indian bowlers upped the ante getting four wickets in the first hour after lunch to ensure that there isn’t any inordinate delay in achieving the desired result.
There were a few gains from the series and the biggest being Hanuma Vihari’s performance as a potent middle-order option with a century and two half-centuries.
After restricting West Indies to 43/2 at stumps on Day 3, skipper Virat Kohli set sights on wrapping things up as quickly as possible, which India did in the post-lunch session. Starting it at 145 for 4, West Indies lost five wickets in just over an hour adding only 65 runs as a physically indisposed Darren Bravo didn’t come out to bat.
In the post-lunch session Jermaine Blackwood (38) got a delivery from Bumrah that pitched on length and moved a shade to take an outside edge which was gobbled up by Rishabh Pant.
The Shamarh Brooks (50)-Blackwood partnership yielded 61 runs for the fifth wicket. Brooks was lucky to survive in the pre-lunch session but not so much in the post-lunch session when Kohli’s quick reflexes brought about his downfall.
Brooks pushed one towards point and started to amble across as Kohli sprinted from his cover position and picked the ball and in turned in the same motion to get his direct throw on target.
Jahmar Hamilton’s (0) debut just got worse with Jadeja snuffing him out in the slips and then Shami removed Rahkeem Cornwall with an off-cutter that got the inside edge of his bat to Pant behind the stumps as Shami and Jadeja completed the formalities.
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane’s welcome return to form, Jasprit Bumrah’s phenomenal show, Jadeja proving his utility as an all-rounder and skipper Kohli lending solidity were the highlights of the satisfying visit to the Caribbean for the Men in Blue.
The areas of concern will be Rishabh Pant’s shoddy show with the bat and KL Rahul’s repeated failures in the red-ball format that could lead to selectors looking at other option when South Africa come calling later this month.
(with PTI inputs)
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