India registered its biggest win overseas after defeating West Indies by an innings and 92 runs in the first Test match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua, the Caribbean Islands. The culminated on the fourth day, itself.
While Ashwin was impressive, most of the credit for this win will go to Virat Kohli, both as a batsman and a captain. He put India in a position from which they could not lose when he made 200. He then marshalled his bowlers brilliantly in the field. The luxury of an attack made up of five front line bowlers certainly helped.
While batting, Kohli scripted history, by becoming the first Indian captain to hit overseas double ton. He achieved the rare feat, by pilling a single to deep mid-wicket just before the lunch break, on the second Day of the Antigua Test. Even as he watched three top-order batsmen gifting their wickets away to Devendra Bishoo on Day One, the Indian captain played emphatically to guard against that pitfall. Kohli managed 200 off 283 balls before being bowled out by West Indies pacer Shannon Gabriel. Achieving the feat, Kohli lowered himself to his knees and kissed the turf as retired batting legends Viv Richards, Sunil Gavaskar, and others joined in the applause from the stands.
Importantly, in the Test match history, just three captains have managed double hundreds against West Indies in the Caribbean. This includes apart from Kohli, England's Len Hutton (205 at Kingston in 1953-54) and Australia's Bobby Simpson (201 at Bridgetown in 1964-65). Kohli's score is also the highest by a player in his maiden Test innings as captain in the West Indies. Previous highest record was held by former Australia ‘keeper Ricky Ponting (158 in 2008).
In the second inning of the West Indies batting, a win seemed only a matter of time but India got fancy with bowling changes, and Carlos Brathwaite and Devendra Bishoo made them wait for over 24 overs for their ninth wicket. After West Indies forced the match past the tea break, Ashwin came back to end it with the wickets of Bishoo and Shannon Gabriel in one over. Ravichandran Ashwin's second-best career figures of 7 for 83 ensured India took a 1-0 lead in the four-match series with an emphatic victory by an innings and 92 runs.
With this emphatic win, Team India’s first game under new coach Anil Kumble has been impressive and meeting expectations. From the brave team selection that saw them play only five specialist batsmen to the execution in both batting and bowling, they did all that was needed and expected to beat the West Indies comprehensively. The West Indian attack was as friendly as one can hope to get at the international level and the Indian team now moves on to the second Test in Jamaica - fully expecting to derive the maximum from the tour.