Kingston, July 30: Ravichandran Ashwin continued to bamboozle the West Indies batsmen with another five-wicket haul while Lokesh Rahul scored an unbeaten half-century as India took firm control on the first day of the second cricket Test, here today (July 30).
Ashwin grabbed 5 for 52 in 16 overs en route his 18th five-wicket haul in longer format as West Indies were all out for 196 in 52.3 overs.
The off-spinner took centrestage after initial breakthroughs from Ishant Sharma (2/53 in 10 overs) and Mohammed Shami (2/23) as rival skipper Jason Holder had decided to make first use of a lively pitch.
The visitors then further consolidated their position by reaching 126 for 1 as they are now only 70 runs short of the West Indies first innings score.
Opener Rahul (75 batting) coming in place of an injured Murli Vijay made full use of the opportunity as he not only looked compact but also scored runs at a fair clip.
Rahul's innings had 10 boundaries in 114 balls as he added 87 runs for the first wicket with a subdued Shikhar Dhawan (27, 52 balls, 5x4). Giving company was Cheteshwar Pujara batting on (18 batting).
Earlier, in the West Indies innings it was Jermaine Blackwood, who showed some counter-attacking instincts with a run-a-ball 62 that had seven fours and four sixes.
Along with Marlon Samuels (37, 88 balls), Blackwood added 81 runs for the fourth wicket after the Caribbeans were reeling at 7 for 3 with Ishant and Shami polishing off the top-order.
However Ashwin held sway in the second session where West Indies lost six wickets for 108 runs to get all-out for a score of less than 200 runs. Ashwin now has 188 victims in 34 matches.
He also has the disticntion of four five-wicket hauls in successive matches. He is only the third Indian spinner to do so after Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and Anil Kumble.
The slide in the post-tea session began when Samuels starting to attack, was fooled by Ashwin's flight lobbing a simple catch to KL Rahul short-leg.
Six overs later, Shane Dowrich (5) edged one behind from the toe-end of his bat, the batsman in half mind whether to leave or play at the ball. At the other end, Shami got rid of Chase, and he should have had Devendra Bishoo's scalp too.
But the batsman was twice given not out off successive deliveries in the 39th over, even though he seemed to have edged behind off both.
He was on 2 then, and added 10 runs to his individual score, before Ashwin trapped him into playing a sweep shot that leapt up in the air and was safely pouched by Shikhar Dhawan at short fine leg in the 44th over.
Spin was introduced in the 12th over as Ashwin came on, but Blackwood went after him as well, smacking 10 runs off his second over.
Samuels continuously egged him on at the other end. He played some attacking shots as well, including a cut six off Umesh Yadav (0-30), though he was tight enough in his defence too.
It seemed as there was a continuous barrage of sixes, five of them coming in this first session of play, four from Blackwood alone as West Indies raced past the 50-mark in the 16th over despite their poor start.
Their 50-partnership had come off just 75 balls, and in doing so Blackwood reached his 7th Test fifty off only 47 balls.
India didn't seem to have any answers to this assault, and both spinners had been introduced within 17 overs, with Mishra coming on to bowl as well.
There were some interesting shouts against Blackwood, who lived dangerously.
And just when it seemed that West Indies had managed to sneak into the lunch break without any further loss, Ashwin trapped Blackwood LBW to bring an end to his hectic stay at the crease.