West Indies pacer Kemar Roach, who rattled the top order of the Indian batting lineup on Thursday, said his team used the conditions on offer well in North Sound on Day 1 of the first Test against India. Roach scalped 3 wickets by the end of the day, including the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara (2) and the well set Hanuma Vihari (32).
After winning the toss and inviting India to bat first, West Indies started strong with Roach claiming the wickets of Pujara and opener Mayank Agarwal while Shannon Gabriel dismissing Indian skipper Virat Kohli for 9 runs, all within the first 10 overs of the day. And India were soon reduced to 25 for 3.
“It was a normal Antigua pitch, where you would always get some moisture early on and help for the fast bowlers,” Roach said, adding, “The ball came out pretty good today. It’s a place I love to play, I’ve had some success here before so I’m happy with how things have gone so far.”
After the wreck, India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane struck strong partnerships with KL Rahul and Vihari to rebuild the Indian innings. Roach said the pitch flattened out towards that part of the day.
“It (pitch) flattened out a bit quicker today than usual, so we had to be patient and build some pressure and challenge the batsmen,” he said.
“It was a good day for us, we did a very good job with the ball. Having then 200 runs for six wickets down… I would take that,” said Roach.
India will start Day 2 on 203 for 6 with wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant (20*) and Ravindra Jadeja (3*) in the middle. The last time the pair batted together was against Australia in January and the pair smashed 204 off 224 balls in a bruising attack on the Aussie bowlers.
Roach said the first session of Day 2 will hence be crucial for the West Indies as they look to not allow the Indians to run away with the game.
“The morning session is going to be very crucial for us, you don’t want them to punish us and go too far ahead of us. I will try to sneak up the wickets and get their bowlers out there as early as possible and attack them as far as possible. I think (giving India) 50-60 runs tomorrow will be fantastic for us and let the batsmen go out there and get a good hit,” he said.
Brief scores: India 203 for 6 (Rahane 81, Rahul 44, Roach 3/34) vs West Indies.
(With inputs from IANS)