Bengal pacer Mohammed Shami took nine wickets in his debut Test on Friday as India trounced West Indies by an inning and 51 runs at Eden Gardens to take a 1-0 lead in Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell series.
Ravichandran Ashwin also made a mark by scoring his second Test century. He later took three wickets as the visitors were bundled out for 168 runs in the second innings.
While Tendulkar will hang up his boots after playing his 200th Test in Mumbai, the debutants seemed eager to make the master blaster’s exit a smooth transition.
Rohit Sharma, who also made his Test debut in Kolkata, scored a brilliant 177 in the match to give India the edge over West Indies and clich the man of the match trophy.
However, the star of the match was undoubtedly Shami, who claimed 5/47 in the second innings and returned impressive match figures of 9 for 118 at the Eden Gardens.
Shami's effort is the second best by an Indian on debut after Narendra Hirwani's 16/136 against the same opponents in Chennai in 1988.
West Indies squandered a strong start to their second innings - they were 101/1 at one point - to get bundled out for 168, losing eight wickets in the span of 67 runs.
The collapse started two overs before tea when they lost two wickets in quick succession to reach 112 for three wickets at tea. The post-tea session was a total disaster for the visitors with Shami and Ashwin making regular inroads.
A well-set Kieron Powell (36) was dismissed LBW by Ashwin who then accounted for Darren Bravo (37) who was caught by Rohit Sharma at point. In between Mohammed Shami, who was reverse swinging the ball, trapped Marlon Samuels (4) LBW with a ball that moved in.
The 49th over however, bowled by Shami, was the most significant one. Darren Sammy (16) was dismissed by a Shami beauty that came in to dislodge the middle stump. Within two deliveries, Shami again knocked over Shane Shillingford's stumps.
What happened on the next ball was truly bizarre. Veerasammy Permaul was hit on the pads and the Indians appealed for an LBW. While this was happening, Permaul went for a little stroll down the track.
By the time he realised what was happening, Dhoni had taken the bails off, leaving the West Indian just short of his crease. From there, it was just a walk in the park for the Indians to finish things off.
However, what stood out in the match was some rather shoddy umpiring, with as many as four contentious LBW decisions that included those that ended the innings of Tendulkar and Sharma.