India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday said the win against the West Indies in the first cricket Test was hard-earned because it was tough scoring runs on the low and slow Ferozeshah Kotla wicket.
"It was not an easy wicket to score. You had to be aware of the ball that kept low," said Dhoni after India won by five wickets and took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
It was India’s maiden victory at the Kotla against the West Indies. India also equalled the second successful run chase at home.
Dhoni said the batsmen didn’t play well in the first innings and hoped the team will put up a better show in the remaining two Test matches.
A spirited display by the young West Indies bowling attack skittled out India for 209 runs in the first innings and gave the visitors a surprise 95-run lead.
"That was a big lead. We all felt we did not bat the way we should in the first innings, we said we will have to make it up," said Dhoni.
Dhoni also lauded his spin duo Pragyan Ojha and debutant Ravichandran Ashwin, both coming up with fifers. Left-arm spinner Ojha, playing a Test match for India after a year, picked up 6/72 in the first innings and returned with a match haul of seven for 109.
However, it was debutant off-spinner Ashwin, who completely turned the match in India’s favour on the third day when he picked up six for 47 to restrict the West Indies for 180 in the second innings that set the hosts a competitive target of 276.
Ashwin, 25-year-old engineering graduate from Chennai, finished with a match haul of nine for 128, the second best by an Indian debutant after Narendra Hirwani’s 16 for 136 also against the West Indies in 1988.
"Ojha bowled well in the first innings, Ashwin has got a few variations and he was supported by the other bowlers. We got a good start in both innings, and the middle order did well in the second," he said.
Ashwin, who was adjudged Man of the Match, said he expected to get a few wickets but not so many.
"I expected to get a few wickets but not so many. It is a very happy feeling to go into my wedding with such a performance, the only thing was the variation in bounce, if you were slower through the air, you would be slower off the pitch. So I bowled a bit quicker in the second innings. It helped because Ojha was bowling so many maidens from the other end. The batsman did not have the fear of being caught bat-pad,” he said.