Yashasvi Jaiswal goes big on debut; Rohit Sharma hits ton as India tighten grip on first Test vs West Indies

The Mumbai school of batting preaches filling one’s boots when the opportunity presents itself, not throwing one’s wicket away when the bowling ceases to present a stiff challenge.

That’s what Yashasvi Jaiswal and Rohit Sharma did on Day 2 of the first Test against the West Indies in Dominica. The former, especially, showed maturity beyond his 21 years of age to score a hundred on Test debut and putting up a double-century opening stand with his captain, a fellow Mumbaikar himself, who too helped himself to a ton.

The leap in the air, both arms aloft and the beaming smile from Jaiswal after nudging the ball into the leg-side for his 100th run made all the hardships and sacrifices in his formative years worthwhile.

Playing 350 balls in an innings is a commendable feat for seasoned batsmen. Jaiswal had already done so in first-class cricket back home and proceeded to do so in his first outing for India. He was unbeaten on 143 at close, guiding India to 312/2, a lead of 162 with a stranglehold on the game.

Jaiswal deserved the slice of luck late in the day when an LBW appeal off Kemar Roach was turned down, a decision that would have been overturned on review. But the West Indies had already burnt their three reviews.

The dry pitch at Windsor Park was offering considerable turn, but Rahkeem Cornwall and Jamal Warrican are no world-beaters with hundreds of wickets under their belt. The former any way had to leave the field pretty early in the piece, forcing skipper Kraigg Brathwaite to bowl all but two of his players – including himself – without much return.

They bowled with the old ball for 100 overs, keeping a lid on the scoring rate for most of the day. The Indians, too, were not in too much of a hurry, and were content in ensuring that there was as much wear and tear on the surface as possible. As a result, the 90 overs in the day yielded only 232 runs.

The West Indian bowling attack is not the strongest going around. But one can only face what is in front of them. Rohit and Jaiswal put their heads down, with the aim of pushing the hosts out of the match and India having to bat only once in the game. The likes of Vijay Merchant, Dilip Sardesai, Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar would make it a point to make it count when they got in and not get too carried away when runs came too easily.

In emulating the giants of yesteryear, Rohit and Jaiswal could well have sealed an opening combination, a left-right pairing to boot, that could serve India with distinction over the next couple of years. Suddenly, Shubman Gill dropping down to No.3 to give Jaiswal his preferred position doesn’t seem such a bad idea.

Jaiswal may have faced stronger bowling attacks in the Indian Premier League, and even in domestic cricket, but he showed immense maturity and great temperament to bat for a long time, so much so that one could be forgiven for forgetting that it is his maiden appearance in India colours.

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