Andre Russell’s big hitting rouses Caribbean crowd

Antigua and Barbuda: It was an innings to stir the interest of the Indian Premier League franchise owners, but Andre Russell left the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground a disappointed man.

The all-rounder`s whirlwind, unbeaten 92 failed to prevent the West Indies` loss to India in the third one-day international on Saturday, although his knock did give the hosts the momentum to bowl and field with vigour.

India wobbled on 92 for six, before Rohit Sharma and Harbhajan Singh put the visitors back on course for a three-wicket victory that gave them an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

"When Harbhajan came to the wicket, we didn`t really apply much pressure," said Russell.

"We allowed him to score freely. That`s the thing we have to tighten up next time. We had to bowl in the right areas against him early on to make him uncomfortable.

"We didn`t do that. All of these things we can take as a learning experience."

Russell smashed eight fours and five sixes in a dazzling display, finishing with the highest innings by a West Indies batsman in an ODI at the VRCG, and surpassing Brian Lara`s 77 against Australia in the 2007 World Cup.

"I always go in with a positive frame of mind," he said. "I believe in myself, and I know I can hit the ball.

"What matters the most to me is that I get a start. As long as I get a start; start sweating a bit and see the bowlers, I can bang them around later.

"It was important for me to do well and express myself against a top team like India. I grabbed the opportunity with both hands."

Russell felt the innings was the best of his short career, and also played down the expectations associated with being an all-rounder.

"I had a 65-ball 108 against Ireland for (his native) Jamaica, but this was my biggest innings as it came on a big stage," he said.

"That 108 was amazing, but I really enjoyed myself. If only we had 30 more runs the result could have been different."

He added: "I try to balance (batting and bowling) as best I can. Bowling is my first choice. I bowl first in the nets and then have a hit.

"I don`t go to training and just bowl and not bat. I just want to have that balance and enjoy the success."

Russell will get another chance to batter India`s bowling into submission in the fourth ODI on Monday at the same venue.

Bureau Report

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