Cheteshwar Pujara gave the world a glimpse of his extraordinary form in red-ball cricket as he struck confident hundred in his first outing on the West Indies tour. Captaining the side in absence of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane failed miserably once again after a cheap dismissal in the warm-up game against West Indies A at Coolidge on Saturday. Courtesy Pujara’s brilliance and Rohit Sharma’s (68) sublime half-century India reached 297/5 on Day 1 of their three-day tour match.
After winning the T20I and ODI series comfortably, India will kick start their World Test championship campaign with a two-match Test series versus West Indies. With the return of Test specialists, India will start as favourites to lift the trophy on the Caribbean islands but Windies cannot be taken lightly either on the home soil.
Opting to bat first after winning the toss, the visitors started their innings on a shaky note with the openers and skipper Rahane back in the dressing room inside the first 15 overs. Jonathan Carter (3/39) broke through the defences of opener Mayank Agarwal to have him bowled on 12. Fellow opener KL Rahul got the start hitting five fours and a six before Keon Harding got rid of him on 36.
Rahane failed, again, managing just one becoming Carter’s second victim and leaving Indian camp a bit worried over his poor form. With India 53/3 in 14.5 overs, senior pros Pujara and Rohit got together to repair the early damage. Pujara’s innings featured eight fours and a six and he was retired out after scoring 100 off 187.
Rohit scored 68 off 115 which included eight fours and a six. Rishabh Pant also got the start with four fours and a six in his 53-ball 33 but became Carter’s third victim after being adjudged lbw – two deliveries before the bails were drawn.
Rain forced the play to end seven deliveries earlier. Hanuma Vihari was unbeaten on 37 and had allrounder Ravindra Jadeja (1*) for the company at the end of the day’s play.
This is India’s lone practice match ahead of the two-Test series against West Indies which gets underway from August 22.
Brief Scores: India 297/5 in 88.5 overs (Cheteshwar Pujara 100, Rohit Sharma 68; Jonathan Carter 3/39) vs West Indies A