Shaw starts with half-century, youngest Indian to do so on Test debut
Rajkot: Teenager Prithvi Shaw became the youngest Indian to score a half-century on Test debut, living up to the hype about his talent and steering the team to 133 for one at lunch on day one of the series-opener against the West Indies here.
He was not facing one of the best attacks but the 18-year-old Shaw gave ample evidence of his brilliance in an unbeaten 75 off 74 balls.
Cheteshwar Pujara too looked at ease at the other end and was on 56 off 74 balls as India scored at 5.32 runs per over in the morning session comprising 25 overs.
Shaw, who became the 293rd cricketer to represent India in Tests, showed supreme confidence from ball one, on which he offered a watchful leave.
The youngster punched the second ball he faced towards the cover boundary for a three, his first runs in international cricket, easing whatever nerves were left inside him.
Pacer Shanon Gabriel was clocking in the higher 140kph but that did not faze Shaw. Gabriel trapped his opening partner K L Rahul in front with a sharp incoming delivery to give the West Indies an early breakthrough.
Rahul was better off not taking the DRS as the ball was clearly crashing into the stumps.
Shaw, however, continued batting with confidence and his first boundary came in the second over bowled by Keemo Paul, another back-foot punch towards the point boundary.
He got more aggressive in Paul’s following over, hitting him for three fours as the pacer was duly punished for bowling far too many loose deliveries.
The wicket wore a greenish look but the ball was not doing much after Gabriel’s initial burst.
After Rahul’s dismissal, Shaw and Pujara gave the innings a move on and did not look in any sort of trouble.
Apart from Gabriel, the West Indies attack lacked teeth and Shaw capitalised on that.
While he punched and drove effortlessly off pacers, Shaw was equally comfortable against the spin duo of Devendra Bishoo and Roston Chase.
The teenage prodigy collected two fours off Bishoo in the 11th over and did the same to Chase in the 20th over.
He also produced a delightful straight drive on way to reaching his maiden half-century which came off 56 balls.
Shaw picked up a single off Chase to bring up the milestone. It was hardly an animated celebration as looked up with his teammates applauding from the dressing room.
A little later, Pujara too got to his half century, off 67 balls, with a straight drive off debutant Sherman Lewis.
The West Indians looked listless on the field as boundaries came at will for India. The visitors were dealt a severe blow even before the start of the game with their captain Jason Holder pulling out with an ankle injury.
Kraigg Brathwaite is captaining the side in Holder’s absence.
Their lead pacer, Kemar Roach, is also not playing the series opener due to a bereavement.