Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Ojha stole the limelight with his sixth five-wicket haul
Despite all the attention being focused on Sachin Tendulkar for his 200th and final Test match in an India jersey, the country’s spin duo of Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin stole the spotlight on the opening day of the second Test in Mumbai as they dismissed the West Indies for a dismal 182.
Ojha registered yet another five-wicket haul, while Ashwin supported him beautifully with three wickets of his own.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and, much to the crowd’s disappointment, chose to bowl first.
However, his decision soon had the boos turning into cheers as West Indies opening batsman Chris Gayle was caught out for just 11 runs when receiving a delivery from Mohammed Shami that bounced a little more than usual.
The West Indies made up for the early loss of Gayle as Kieran Powell and Darren Bravo recorded a brilliant 61-run partnership before Bravo walked when edging a delivery from Ashwin to Dhoni behind the stumps.
Powell would have been kicking himself when he was caught out for 48 just a few overs later as it was a very soft dismissal.
Powell’s valiant knock of 48 came off 80 balls and included four boundaries and a six.
Ojha returned to nab the wicket of West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels, who looked extremely uncomfortable throughout his entire innings.
Despite making an encouraging start, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who is playing in his 150th Test match, was caught in the slips by Ashwin off the bowling of Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 25.
Narsingh Deonarine also failed to capitalise on his solid start as he was dismissed via a stunning one-handed catch by Murali Vijay in the gully region off the bowling of Ashwin.
Ashwin struck again just two balls later after West Indies skipper Daren Sammy played an awful slog shot that went straight up into the air and landed safely in the hands of Rohit Sharma.
Sammy’s wicket marked a major milestone in Ashwin’s Test career as it was his 100th wicket.
Ashwin has only taken 18 Tests to claim 100 wickets, which makes him the fastest bowler to accomplish this feat since Australia leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett took 100 wickets in 17 Test matches all the way back in 1931.
Ashwin is also the fastest Indian bowler to take 100 Test wickets, beating Erapalli Prasanna by two Test matches.
Shane Shillingford was dismissed the very next over as he was given out lbw for a duck.
Just two deliveries later, Dhoni was juggling with the ball, but managed to hang on to it, when Tino Best got a bottom edge while attempting a sweep shot.
This catch marked a milestone in Dhoni’s career as it was his 250th dismissal in Test cricket.
Dhoni is only the seventh wicketkeeper to achieve this feat.
Dhoni hung on to another catch behind the stumps just a few overs later when Shannon Gabriel dabbled at a much slower delivery from Ojha.
The West Indies were bowled out for 182 with wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin remaining undefeated on 12.
Ojha was the pick of the Indian bowlers with a five-wicket haul, while Ashwin snapped up three wickets and Kumar and Shami chipped in with one wicket apiece.
This was Ojha’s sixth five-wicket haul and his third at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.
Legendary England all-rounder Sir Ian Botham is the only other cricketer to have taken three five-wicket hauls in Mumbai.
Trailing by 182, India got off to a superb start as their opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Vijay put together a 77-run partnership before Dhawan was caught by Chanderpaul at the deep square leg boundary off the bowling of Shillingford for 33.
Shillingford struck again just two balls later when Vijay edged the ball straight to Sammy on 43.
As soon as Vijay had been given out, the Wankhede stadium erupted as the ‘Little Master’ came out onto the field for perhaps the very last time in his illustrious 24-year career.
Tendulkar and Cheteshwar Pujara silenced the ecstatic West Indians with a fantastic unbeaten 80-run partnership before stumps was called.
Tendulkar finished on 38 off 73 balls, which included six boundaries, while Pujara remained undefeated on 34 off 49 deliveries, which included four boundaries.
Shillingford was the most successful West Indian bowler with two wickets.
India ended the day on 157/2 and will resume batting at 09:30 local time or 04:00 GMT.