July 25 (Reuters) – India would be reasonably pleased with the smooth start to the transition of their test team against the West Indies, even if a 1-0 series victory against a side seven rungs below them in the official rankings may not sound impressive.
Persistent rain in Port of Spain did not allow any play on Monday, resulting in a stalemate between the sides and depriving India of a 2-0 series sweep when they needed eight wickets to win.
Smarting from their defeat, second in a row, in the World Test Championship final against Australia last month, India went to the Caribbean with a new top order, an uncapped stumper, and a rookie pace attack for the two-test series.
With Shubman Gill moving down to number three after veteran Cheteshwar Pujara was dropped, India harnessed an uncapped Yashasvi Jaiswal with skipper Rohit Sharma in a left-right opening combination.
Jaiswal smashed a match-winning 171 in his debut in Roseau and scored 57 and 38 in the drawn test in Port of Spain making an immediate impact.
Gill is yet to settle in his new position, but the team management is more than willing to be patient with a player hailed as the future of Indian cricket.
India have badly missed wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant since his horrific car crash in December but have unearthed a replica in stumper Ishan Kishan, an identical left-handed batter known for his six-hitting prowess.
While his glovework drew praise from his captain, Kishan smashed an unbeaten 52 off 34 balls in India’s second innings at Port of Spain after being promoted to number four.
“You need guys like Ishan. We wanted quick runs, we promoted him,” Rohit said.
“He wasn’t afraid, he was the first one to put his hand up.”
“You need the mixture of everything. We have depth, we have got variety.”
While Jaiswal finished the series as its leading scorer, Rohit and Virat Kohli completed the top three.
Of India’s old guard, only Ajinkya Rahane should worry about his test future having managed just three and eight in his two outings in West Indies.
Rohit was particularly pleased how Mohammed Siraj led an inexperienced pace attack in the absence of a recovering Jasprit Bumrah and a rested Mohammed Shami.
“I have been watching him closely,” Rohit said of the right-arm seamer who breathed fire on a docile track to claim 5-60 in West Indies’ first innings at Port of Spain.
“He’s taken such a giant step. He has led this attack (superbly).”
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by Sonali Paul
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