Rajkot: Teenage sensation Prithvi Shaw (134, 154b, 19×4) announced his arrival in top-flight cricket Thursday by becoming the youngest Indian to score a Test century on debut, headlining the home team’s march to 364 for four against West Indies on day one of the series-opener here.
Shaw and Cheteshwar Pujara (86, 130b, 14×4) laid the foundation for a big score with a 206-run partnership after the early departure of KL Rahul (zero). Skipper Virat Kohli (72 batting, 137b, 4×4) and Rishabh Pant (17 batting, 21b, 1×4, 1×6) were batting at stumps, with an unconquered 27-run stand for the fifth wicket.
The West Indies, handed a big setback even before toss with the last-minute withdrawal of captain Jason Holder, looked ordinary at best on the field. Barring pacer Shanon Gabriel (1/66), none of the bowlers troubled the Indian batsmen on a greenish surface which did not seem to do much.
The opposition attack was far from threatening but due credit must be given to Shaw, who batted like a seasoned campaigner on his debut. His back-foot play off the pacers was a treat to the eyes and when spinners were deployed, he was not afraid to use the long handle.
At 18 years and 329 days, Shaw reached the milestone off just 99 balls, adding to a host of records he holds in his blossoming career. He had earlier made waves by reaching three figures in his first Ranji Trophy appearance and was the youngest to hit a century on Duleep Trophy debut.
I was thinking about my dad, as he has sacrificed a lot for me. Whenever I scored a hundred I thought of him and this is my first Test hundred, it’s all for him
Shaw, who was on unbeaten 75 at lunch, reached the three figures in the afternoon session with a typical punch to the cover, the same way he got his first runs in international cricket.
Unfortunately, Shaw fell at the stroke of tea, in what was a soft dismissal as he chipped one straight into the hands of leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo (1/113). He was not facing one of the best attacks but he gave ample evidence of his brilliance on way to a memorable hundred.
Pujara too looked at ease at the other end until he was caught behind off debutant Sherman Lewis, missing out on a 16th Test ton. The departures of Shaw and Pujara reduced India to 232/3 before Kohli and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane (41, 92b, 5×4) carefully carry on their innings, with a 105-run stand.