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Kohli, Ashwin put India in command

Skipper’s maiden double ton and offie’s third Test hundred propel visitor to 566 for 8; West Indies loses Chandrika in short burst to stumps

Kohli, Ashwin put India in command - Cricket News
Kohli scored his maiden Test double-century on Day 2.
If India was inspired, and rose to the occasion, none more than Virat Kohli and R Ashwin, West Indies was dispirited, unimaginative and flat on the second day of the first Test at the Sri Vivian Richards Stadium in St John’s.
Kohli brought up his maiden first-class double hundred, in the process becoming the only Indian captain to score a Test double century overseas. Ashwin indulged his love for batting, the affable offie helping himself to a third Test hundred, building on Kohli’s magnum innings to put India in a position of strength. Some merrymaking from Amit Mishra allowed Kohli to declare on 566 for 8 and have a crack at West Indies’ openers. The dividend came soon enough, with Mohammed Shami providing the breakthrough, leaving a glum West Indies 31 for 1 when Friday’s (July 22) play ended.
India was well placed when the second day began, but there was still plenty of work to be done to ensure that promise and potential transformed into performance. West Indies, which had little means to attack save for Shannon Gabriel, could not replicate its discipline of the first day. Jason Holder called himself a workhorse ahead of the Test match, but he proved to be unequal to carrying the load long enough. Carlos Brathwaite’s military medium simply did not ask enough questions on a slowing surface and Devendra Bishoo did not have any joy.
To make matters worse for the bowlers, who will be kicking themselves for bowling both sides of the stumps and allowing batsmen to score freely, the fielding was a letdown. Shane Dowrich, the wicketkeeper, put down the simplest of chances offered by Ashwin when he had only 43 to his name, Gabriel having drawn a regulation edge. With the sitters being made to look difficult, it was expecting too much to ask that the half-chances be taken, and Kohli and Ashwin cashed in.
If Kohli had set the aesthetic bar supremely high with shot-making of the highest quality, Ashwin showed that he understood plenty about the art of batting. Waiting patiently for the right delivery to attack, deploying a straight bat wherever possible and resisting the temptation to try and match his more accomplished partner shot for shot, Ashwin focussed on making the most of the opportunity afforded to him. Elevated to No. 6, Ashwin approached his innings like a proper batsman, not a lower-order biffer who could handle the willow a bit.
Kohli, for his part, was completely at ease for someone who had never scored a first-class double hundred before. He came close, in the 2008-09 season, getting to 197 for Delhi against the Pakistani domestic team Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited in the Nissar Trophy. If there were any nerves, or superstitions about not having ticked this box, it was not in evidence on the day.
While Ashwin grew a little anxious as Kohli neared the milestone, trying to steal quick singles and get his partner across the line, Kohli waited for the ball to come to him, for the bowler to do as he wanted, literally bending the will of the opposition to do his bidding.
West Indies did not make it particularly difficult for Kohli either, choosing to use the part-time off-breaks of Roston Chase, with as many as four men out in the deep, as the batsman looked for and got safe singles. It was a whip through midwicket that did the trick and Kohli’s celebration matched his evolution and growth as a batsman. Where a young Virat might’ve sworn and raged like a storm in full cry, the more content, confident and composed Kohli woke up to the moment, smelling the petrichor, raising helmet and hand to the heavens with the radiant smile of a child enjoying the first drops of rain on cheek.
India went to lunch satiated but still hungry to do more, Kohli on an even 200 and Ashwin on 64. The rainbow blessing the Indian batting burned away straight after the interval though, Kohli’s bugbear rearing its annoying head once more. Playing with an angled bat, Kohli dragged Gabriel back onto his stumps, and the disappointment was obvious, but thankfully momentary. After all, while he would have wanted more, Kohli would have recognised that he had gone where no Indian captain had, and done more than enough to ensure that his team put themselves in the best possible chance to win a Test match.
When Kohli fell, India had 404 on the board, but many more were needed, not merely to shore up the first innings, but to open up the possibility of not having to bat again. Ashwin’s third Test century – all made against West Indies – ensured that this happened. India accelerated when the time came, Ashwin falling for 113 and Mishra slapping his way 53 as the innings was called to an end on a bright note.
For West Indies, a day that began flatly ended worse as Rajendra Chandrika hung his bat out to Shami and nicked off. It was the last thing the home team needed, and it will be pushed further onto the back foot when the third day’s play begins.

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