India back on her winning ways, thanks to Ashwin and Sachin

Sachin Tendulkar congratulates R Ashwin who took 9 wickets – three in the first and 6 in the second innings to beat West Indies

By Kersi Meher-Homji

India has retained her squad for the second Test starting in Kolkata next Monday the 14th after beating West Indies by five wickets earlier on the 9th with a day to spare.

It was India’s first Test win in seven Tests, having lost four Tests disastrously in England in July-August following drawing the last two Tests in the Caribbean in June – July.

Apart from the victory in Delhi, many milestones were reached in this Test.

  • Sachin Tendulkar, 38, reached the unscaled landmark of 15,000 Test runs. He is 2,188 runs ahead of team-mate Rahul Dravid and 2,553 runs ahead of Australia’s Ricky Ponting. Tendulkar’s 15,048 runs were scored in 182 Tests at an average of 56.14 (with 51 centuries, highest score 248 not out) followed by Dravid (12,860 at 52.92 with 35 centuries, HS 270) and Ponting 12,495 runs 52.72 with 39 centuries, HS 257). In other words, no one has even touched 13,000 Test runs. Also the top two run-getters in Test arena are Indians.
  • Tendulkar also overtook Dravid as the leading scorer in successful run chases.
  • India’s off-spinner with carom-ball action, Ravichandran Ashwin, 25, became the third Indian to be adjudged Man of the Match in his Test debut. The other two Indians were Pravin Amre in 1992 (v. South Africa at Durban in 1992) and Rudra Pratap Singh (v. Pakistan at Faizalabad in 2006).
  • Ashwin took 3-81 in the first innings and a match-winning 6-47 in the second to have match figures of 9-128. Among Indians, only Narendra Hirwani had taken more wickets in his Test debut, 16-136, also against West Indies at Madras (now Chennai) in 1987-88.
  • The one milestone which was not reached was Tendulkar hitting his 100th international century. He was on his way as he led India to a victory but was trapped lbw when 76. India prays that ”˜God’ Tendulkar will reach this milestone in the Kolkata Test next week.


Now to the highlights of the Delhi Test:

With the veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul scoring 118, the West Indies totalled 304. India’s left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha captured 6-72 and Ashwin 3-81.

Virender Sehwag (55) and Gautam Gambhir (41) gave India a flying start of 89 runs but both were freakishly dismissed. Gambhir was backing up when a brilliant straight-drive from Sehwag hit the stumps (after touching bowler Darren Sammy’s fingers).

Sehwag was brilliantly stumped by Carlton Baugh, the batsman’s heels just above the pitch.

Dravid scored a patient 54 but the rest flopped and India conceded a first inning lead of 95.

Skipper MS Dhoni started India’s attack with spinners Ojha and Ashwin and soon the Windies were in trouble. Chanderpaul again defended stoutly with his unorthodox and ugly stance but others collapsed and were dismissed for 180, Ashwin grabbing a match-winning 6-47.

Set 276 to win, Sehwag again started sensationally, belting 5 fours and two sixes in his 55. Then it was all Tendulkar (76) and VVS Laxman (58 not out) who took India to a comfortable 5 wicket win.

Ashwin has more than his Man of the Match award and India’s victory to celebrate. He is getting married between the Delhi and Kolkata Test.

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