Antigua: Rahane's first Test century in over two years laid the platform for Indian seamers to blow away West Indies' top-order to secure their biggest ever away win (in terms of runs) in Test cricket.
After three relatively steady paced days of Test Cricket, the opening fixture of the two-Test series burst into life on the fourth day in Antigua as India got their ICC World Test Championship campaign off to a winning start.
Resuming the day on 185/3, West Indies got off to the ideal start, with Roston Chase extracting a leading edge from India skipper Virat Kohli. The Windies would have harboured hopes of running through the Indian middle-order to leave themselves with a chaseable fourth innings target.
Rahane continued his fine first-innings form and with Hanuma Vihari, the pair helped India establish a towering lead. After his 81 earlier in the Test, Rahane was determined to notch a first Test century in over two years. That determination paid off as he registered a 10th Test century ? a welcome return to form for one of this India side's most experienced players.
Looking to increase the scoring rate, Rahane fell soon after reaching the landmark, trying to hit Shannon Gabriel over the in-field, only to be caught by Windies skipper Jason Holder at mid-off. Vihari played superbly, eventually falling seven runs short of what would have been a maiden Test hundred. His dismissal signalled the end of the India innings as Virat Kohli declared with India on 343/7, leaving West Indies needing to 419 to win, an ICC report said.
West Indies were never in the run chase. In a spectacular opening burst, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah combined to leave West Indies 15/5 at the tea interval. Wickets continued to fall after the break as Bumrah collected figures of 8-4-7-5 to leave West Indies 50/9. West Indies' final pair, Kemar Roach and Miguel Cummins then put on a show for the Antigua crowd, compiling 50 quickfire runs for their side to offer a rare glimmer of light on an otherwise testing day for the hosts.
Sharma took the final wicket to a 318-run win for India, their largest in terms of runs away from home in their Test history. The victory also saw them claim 60 points in their ICC World Test Championship opener. The second Test of the series starts on August 30 in Kingston, Jamaica.(UNI)