Prithvi Shaw's debut ton headlines India's dominant day

India piled on 364 runs for the loss of four wickets, for which West Indies was made to toil hard.

Prithvi Shaw acknowledges the applause from the dressing room and the small crowd gathered at the venue, after getting to his maiden Test hundred.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

A hundred on Ranji Trophy debut, a century on Duleep Trophy debut and now a ton on Test debut —that’s Prithvi Shaw for you.

A product of the generation, which is fearless and has no inhibitions, the 18-year-old has shades of any other Mumbai cricketer and is often compared to the icon, Sachin Tendulkar —who too had similar feats in his playing career. But Shaw is different. A hardworking young gentleman, he would go all the way to live his dream.

Just like he would walk into an Oval Maidan or a Shivaji Park, Shaw walked into the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Thursday morning with a familiar ease. As if this was his known turf and as if he was a seasoned campaigner for India.

But, the reality? The youngster was just making his first appearance at the Test level. And he took things in his stride, with a classy knock of 134 to help India reach 364-4 on the first day of the first Test against the West Indies.

As it happened

As the temperature soared, making life tougher for the players, Shaw sizzled on debut — becoming the 15th Indian cricketer to score a ton on Test debut, and the youngest to achieve such a feat.

One of the most consistent performers at the domestic level, the young gun came in as an opener in the first-ever Test of his life, but looked cool and composed.

After the early exit of his opening partner, KL Rahul — for a duck, Shaw made the most of batting in favourable conditions and against a toothless West Indies bowling attack. While local boy Cheteshwar Pujara steadied the ship and played his natural game after the early loss of Rahul, Shaw expressed himself, punching, cutting and driving the bowlers with much aplomb.

The wicket did not offer much help to the seamers. Though Shanon Gabriel touched 150kmph and removed Rahul with a sharp in-swinger, the rest of the attack looked quite listless. Taking advantage of that, Shaw and Pujara stitched a 206-run partnership for the third wicket.

Just when it looked as if both Pujara and Shaw would register centuries, Pujara fell for 86 off fellow debutant Sherman Lewis. A tentative Pujara, poking at a ball outside off-stump, was caught behind — falling 14 runs short of the coveted Test century.

Read: Sublime Prithvi Shaw shows his class on debut

After a while, Shaw too had a rather soft dismissal, offering a return catch to Devendra Bishoo. But by then, he had won hearts and had put India in command. And the host ended the day comfortably, with captain Virat Kohli unbeaten on 72 and birthday boy Rishabh Pant not out on 17.

After Shaw’s exit, the captain was joined by his deputy Ajinkya Rahane, who contributed 41 before being caught behind the stumps off Roston Chase. The two added 105 runs for the fourth wicket. Rahane — who didn't have a great tour of England — had looked in good touch before being dismissed. He backed his captain to the hilt and ensured that there was no slip-up.

 

After a tiring England tour, Kohli had skipped the Asia Cup and with the Australia tour lined up next month, it was important for the captain to get back into the groove, and he too joined in the act.

However, Kohli won an important toss — his first in six Tests, having loss all five against England — with India naming three spinners in the XI, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav. West Indies suffered a big blow ahead of the toss as its captain, Jason Holder, was ruled out of the game with an ankle injury.

Kraigg Brathwaitte took up the mantle, captaining his country in a Test match for the second time. Other than spearhead Gabriel, the four other West Indies bowlers looked ineffective, with Pujara, Shaw and Rahane contributing more to their own dismissals.

Gabriel got the early breakthrough, trapping Rahul on the pads. Even though the Indian opener appealed for a review, it did not go in his favour.

The visiting side, however, could not capitalise on the good start as it allowed Shaw and Pujara to anchor the ship. With Kemar Roach out of the game following a bereavement in the family and Holder picking up a last-minute injury, the travelers from the West Indies looked hapless.

Before the match got underway, West Indies coach, Stuart Law, had spoken about having a proper plan against India. But there are days when nothing goes your way, and it was one such occasion for the West Indies.

On a day of Shaw show, there was no Calypso!

The only other ‘Shaw’ to play Test cricket was England’s Alfred Shaw, who had the distinction of delivering the first ever ball in Test cricket on March 15, 1877.