Mohammed Shami, on debut, announced his arrival in the Test arena by picking a four wicket-haul in what turned out to be a dream spell against the West Indies as a the hosts started in dominant fashion in Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell series in Kolkata on Wednesday. Playing his first Test at his home ground, Shami was impressive from the first over as he troubled both the openers.
Shami finished with remarkable figures of 4/71 in 18 overs as India bowled out the visitors for a paltry 234 after West Indies skipper, Darren Sammy, opted to bat at the Eden Gardens on the opening day. At stumps, India succesfully negotiated last hour of the day as they were 37 for no loss with the two openers, Shikhar Dhawan, who is 21 not out, and Murali Vijay who is 16 not out, at the crease. India trail the West Indies by 197 runs with all their wickets intact. West Indies skipper Darren Sammy’s decision to bat prevented the crowd from watching Tendulkar bat on the first day, but the 40-year-old little master didnlt disappoint his fans when he came on to bowl. He picked up a wicket in his first over itself at the stroke of tea, taking his Test wicket tally to 46. While Tendulkar was undoubtedly did his bit by contributing a wicket to India’s cause, Shami grabbed the opportunity with bot hands as he rocked the West Indies middle-order with a hostile spell that included quite a few reverse-swinging deliveries. The 23-year-old Shami’s wickets included Kieran Powell, top-scorer Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin and Sheldon Cottrell. Earlier, West Windies were placed were placed comfortably at 107 for two at lunch, but Shami troubled visitors in the second session, extracting reverse swing from the Eden pitch to trigger a collapse.
The touring side lost eight wickets for 96 runs as they skittled out inside 78 overs. Samuels was the lone psotive for West Indies with a score of 65 off 98 balls with the help of 11 fours and two sixes. Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, whi picked up only one wicket, was impressive with his tidy bowling but he was unlucky twice with skipper Dhoni dropping Samuels and Shane Shillingford on two occasions. On the other hand, Ravichandran Ashwin picked up two wickets. Credit must also go to Dhoni as he preferred Shami over the out-of-sorts Ishant Sharma, who, incidentally, gave the Test cap to the debutant pacer. The other debutant of the day was Rohit Sharma and he got the cap from Tendulkar. Shami was also instrumental in Darren Bravo’s run-out as West Windies committed a harakiri in the middle, losing three wickets in as many overs to tilt the first day in favour of India. He got his maiden Test scalp in the form of Powell, who socred 28 runs, after Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave the initial breakthrough, taking key wicket of Chris Gayle when he was only on 18 runs. India exploited the slow Eden pitch to good effect as both the WI openers ran out of patience and gifted their wickets in the space of four overs.