3 on the trot
KOCHI – Different format, same result for the West Indies’ cricketers on their tour of India.
A change from Test cricket to One Day Internationals didn’t make any difference as the embarrassing losses continued with India hammering the West Indies by six wickets in the first ODI?at the Nehru Stadium, yesterday.
Even though Darren Bravo carried the batting with a top score of 59 off 77 balls, India’s spinners, led by part-timer Suresh Raina (3-34) and Ravindra Jadeja (3-37) made sporadic inroads as West Indies were dismissed for an inadequate 211 in 48.5 overs after they batted on winning the toss.
Rohit Sharma (72) and Virat Kohli (86) then coasted to easy half centuries as the visitors reached 212 for four in 35.2 overs to win with 14.4 overs to spare and to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Tall Barbadian fast bowler Jason Holder was the pick of the West Indies’ bowler with two for 48 off eight overs.
Earlier, the West Indies’ innings began in drama when Chris Gayle was run out for zero off the second ball of the match.
Gayle dabbed the delivery towards the non-striker and called straightaway for a risky single but Bhuvneshwar Kumar sprinted to his right and threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end, catching him short.
As Gayle tried to make his ground, he took a tumble and injured his hamstring that could keep him out for up to four weeks.
Gayle, who had to be carried off the field on a stretcher, is likely to miss the remaining two ODIs and the start of the New Zealand tour immediately after the series.
He was initially treated at the ground by the orthopaedic surgeon Dr Bipin Theruvil, before he was admitted to hospital.
An MRI scan found that there was a “hamstring tear on his left leg and small blood clot around”.
“The injuries will take at least two to four weeks to heal,” Theruvil told reporters.
The foundation to West Indies total was constructed on two half-century partnerships as they attempted to recover from the loss of Gayle in the first over.
The first was a 65-run second wicket stand between opener Johnson Charles and Marlon Samuels, most of those runs coming in the first ten overs before spin was introduced.
Charles smashed seven fours and a six in a knock of 42 before he tried to whip a delivery to the leg side and got a leading edge towards Jadeja, who dived full length to his left to pull off a one-handed blinder.
A few balls later, Samuels was beaten by a delivery from Raina which kept low and hit the base of his middle stump after he had scored 24 which included two fours and a six.
Bravo continued to lead the Windies counter attack, manoeuvering the strike around in company of Lendl Simmons as they added 65 for the fourth wicket.
Twice, Bravo hit flighted deliveries from Jadeja into the stands but, like Samuels, was dismissed by a delivery that stayed low from Mohammed Shami during the Batting Powerplay.
His dismissal after a responsible knock highlighted by four fours and two sixes, signalled the end of resistance from West Indies.
Simmons was bowled by Raina for 29 as the last seven wickets tumbled for the addition of 69 runs.
In response, opener Shikhar Dhawan was caught behind off a lifting delivery from Holder in the fourth over, but Rohit and Kohli were unfazed by the dual nature of the pitch, and kept scoring freely throughout their 133-run second-wicket partnership in 21.4 overs.
Kohli did the bulk of the scoring in the first 10 overs, stroking five boundaries against Rohit’s one. But as soon as off-spinner Sunil Narine was introduced in the 11th over, Rohit took over the role of aggressor.
He hit the next seven boundaries with a wide array of shots – from powerful slog-sweeps to deft late-cuts – to zoom past Kohli. During the course of his innings, Rohit went past Misbah-ul-Haq to become the leading run-scorer in 2013.
But just when a century looked certain, he pulled a short delivery from seamer Ravi Rampaul straight to Simmons at deep midwicket to be dismissed for 72, with his tally of international runs since October standing on 859.
After his departure, Kohli switched gears as a struggling Yuvraj Singh joined him in the middle. A couple of powerful pulls were unleashed against the fast bowlers – the second one a nonchalant six which sailed over mid-wicket off Holder making him the joint-fastest to reach 5000 ODI runs along with Viv Richards, in 114 innings.
But just like Rohit, he too was dismissed when a hundred appeared for the taking, trying to hit Holder over the top and skying a catch to Narine at mid-off. (EZS/CMC)