India in control after first day against West Indies
Ashwin continued his brilliant form, taking 5-52 as India bowled out West Indies for 196 at Sabina Park in Kingston.
In reply, India were 126 for one at close of play, trailing by only 70 runs, with Lokesh Rahul on 75 and Cheteshwar Pujara on 18.
Ashwin’s performance, hot on the heels of a century in the first test in Antigua where he also took 7-83 in the second innings in a big India victory, reaffirmed his reputation as arguably the world’s best all-rounder.
“I’m very happy for today. A first-day five-wicket haul is obviously something a spinner will cherish,” Ashwin said in an on-field interview.
“I thought the ball came out really well and I just took off from the last game where I left off.”
Ashwin revealed a keen tactical mind, saying he analyses all of his batting opponents and tries to plot not only the best way to dismiss them, but also how to keep them from scoring freely.
“I see the situation of the game, pretty much plan to a batsman’s strength, try to see how I can cut the runs and the strong points of opposition batsmen. For example, Jermaine Blackwood really plays well through the off side.”
He was referring to Windies number five Blackwood, who top-scored with a run-a-ball 62 that included four sixes and seven fours.
Blackwood was adjudged leg before wicket to Ashwin, but the bowler most savoured the departure of number four Marlon Samuels, who scored an obdurate 37 and shared a fourth-wicket stand of 81 with Blackwood.
Samuels hoisted Ashwin for six in the 30th over but was dismissed the very next ball, caught bat-pad at short leg.
“I was really pleased, having been hit for six, I still had the courage to throw it up there,” Ashwin said.
Earlier, paceman Ishant Sharma greased the wheels by picking up two early wickets with a devastating opening spell of seam bowling.
The Windies, who won the toss and batted, lost their first three wickets for only seven runs.
Local man Blackwood, under pressure to justify his spot in the team after a pair in the first test, decided attack was the best form of defence.
“That’s me naturally. I’m very aggressive,” he said. “The ball was doing a bit, the bowlers were bowling pretty good so I just (wanted to) put them under some pressure.”
That he did, but without much help the Windies were in a very big hole by the day’s end.