India won the opening Test against West Indies by 63 runs after running through the home side’s batting line-up on the fourth day at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.
Starting the morning on 131 for three and needing another 195 runs to win, West Indies lost six wickets in the first session before they were bowled out for 262 after lunch when Suresh Raina dismissed last man Devendra Bishoo.
Test debutant Praveen Kumar, who finished with six wickets in the match, and Amit Mishra each took two scalps today as India, the world’s top-ranked team, drew first blood in the three-Test series.
Rahul Dravid was named man of the match following his crucial 112 in India’s second innings.
Overnight duo Darren Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who had shared an unbroken 51-run stand at the end of day three, added 17 runs to the total before Bravo (41) was bowled by Kumar after moving too far across his crease and exposing his leg stump.
Kumar struck again in his next over to remove the obdurate Chanderpaul, who departed for 30 after seeing his loose drive snapped up by Suresh Raina at cover, and from a promising position West Indies could see the Test slipping away.
Birthday boy Carlton Baugh lasted just four balls before he too was on his way back to the pavilion, caught by Virat Kohli off the bowling of Harbhajan Singh for a duck.
That brought home captain Darren Sammy to the wicket and he smashed Harbhajan for three successive sixes in his first over.
Sammy continued to counter-attack as he sought to wrest the initiative back from India but, having scored 25 off 10 balls, he perished after aiming a big shot at Mishra’s first ball of the session and finding VVS Laxman at extra cover.
That left West Indies on 181 for seven, and it became eight down seven runs later when Brendan Nash was trapped lbw by Mishra for nine.
Ravi Rampaul gave the home fans something to cheer with a brisk 34 that included six fours and a six off Harbhajan before he was snared by a superb lifting ball from Ishant Sharma.
Rampaul could only fend the delivery off with his glove as it rose to chest high and India wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni took the catch one-handed high above his head.
Rampaul felt that should have been called a no-ball as the third bouncer of the over, but the decision remained and he had to go.
That was in the penultimate over of the morning and while Fidel Edwards and Bishoo safely negotiated the final six balls from Harbhajan before the break, India went into the interval knowing they were within touching distant of the triumph with West Indies needing another 100 runs to claim an unlikely victory themselves.
Dhoni’s men were forced to wait though as Edwards and Bishoo put on a 39-run stand for the final wicket.
However, that came to an end when Bishoo was bowled by Raina for 26, the number 11 playing a defensive shot but then seeing the ball spin back through his legs and onto the stumps.
The second Test is due to start at Bridgetown, Barbados on June 28.