Rohit Sharma, Mohammad Shami win Test caps in Sachin Tendulkar's 199th match
In Sachin Tendulkar's 199th and penultimate Test, Rohit Sharma and Mohammad Shami made their Test debuts. Both Sharma and Shami have been in great form with bat and ball, respectively, in the recent ODI series against the Australians.
Rohit Sharma and Mohammad Shami were rewarded for their fantastic form in recent ODIs against Australia with Test caps at Kolkata's Eden Gardens on Wednesday. The first of the two-Test contest against the Caribbeans is being treated as Sachin Tendulkar's farewell series. (1st Test scorecard)
Sharma, in amazing form, got his Test cap from Tendulkar, who is playing his 199th and penultimate Test. In the recent seven-match ODI series against Australia that India won 3-2, Sharma scored 491 runs at an average of 122.75. This is a world record for the highest number of runs in a bilateral series. The 26-year-old even hit a double century to highlight the incredible form he has been in, in recent months. Although he has featured in 108 ODIs since his debut in 2007, the Mumbai batsman was not considered for Tests till Wednesday. Sharma has been part of the Test squad earlier but never played.
Mohammad Shami's ascent to the Test squad has been relatively quicker. The 23-year-old seamer, who got his Test cap from Ishant Sharma, ironically the man he replaced at Eden on Wednesday,Â first played for India in the ODI series against Pakistan this year. With 17 wickets since and a decent economy backing him in his 14 matches, the Bengal cricketer became a natural choice for a Test debut on his home ground.
The ability to make hit the deck hard and make the new ball swing away will surely test the West Indies' batsmen. This was also amply evident when Shami claimed seven Aussie wickets in just three matches in a series which was otherwise horrendous for bowlers from both sides. Kieran Powell became Shami's first Test wicket when the left-handed West Indian opener mistimed a pull and holed out at mid-off. (Updates)
The third debutant in the match - West Indies' Sheldon Cottrell - too has the ability to trouble opposition. The 24-year-old medium-pace bowler who replaced an injured Kemar Roach, has featured in 19 first-class matches and has won 43 scalps. His last visit to India - as part of the West India A side - was unfortunate as he was replaced by Fidel Edwards due to an injury. The knee has since healed and the Jamaican is likely to make a mark at the Eden Gardens.
West Indies are batting first after skipper Darren Sammy won the toss and asked India to field.