Antigua: Rohit Sharma once again came to India’s rescue. The right-handed batsman’s calm and composed 86 runs yielded result and gave the visitors a 3-wicket victory over West Indies in the third ODI, sealing the five-match series on Saturday.
Harbhajan Singh outplayed his role as a batsman with some gritty shots. The off-spinner’s contribution of 41 runs to the 88-run partnership with Rohit Sharma proved vital in the end. Praveen Kumar’s quickfire 25 was another noteworthy performance from the Indian side.
Chasing West Indies’ 225, India started of in a slow pace. Opener Parthiv Patel showed some resistance. After making 46 runs, Parthiv’s stay ended when he sliced a flat delivery of Bishoo straight to point where Russell made no mistake. The pace at which the top order started their chase was unlike the usual rollicking starts by Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, which Indian fans are so used to watching.
Put in to bat, West Indies delivered a modest total of 225 for 8, thanks to Andre Russell’s blitzkrieg. He scored 92 runs off 64 balls.
At one stage, Windies were 96/7, and Russell along with Carlton Baugh (36), rescued the hosts from a collapse and revived their innings with a partnership of 78 runs.
Amit Mishra, capitalising on the good start provided by their opening bowlers, made some early inroads into the weak West Indian batting line-up. He took his tally to three wickets in the innings after sending back Lendl Simmons to the pavilion. Simmons shared a 65-run partnership in the second wicket to steady the West Indies innings. He was out after scoring 45 runs.
Both were successful in rotating the strikes, producing a couple of big shots at regular intervals. Good works on the field by Raina ended a threatening partnership between Ramnaresh Sarwan and Lendl Simmons.
Earlier, skipper Suresh Raina’s decision to field first was justified by new-ball partners Munaf Patel and Praveen Kumar. Munaf gave the visitors the first breakthrough by sending off Kirk Edwards for a duck in his second ball of the innings.
West Indies made three changes to their squad and fielded Denza Hyatt to make his ODI debut on Saturday. They also brought in Andre Russel and Kemar Roach to the squad. The Indian team remained unchanged for the third ODI.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Parthiv Patel(w), Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina(c), Rohit Sharma, Subramaniam Badrinath, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Amit Mishra, Munaf Patel.
West Indies: Lendl Simmons, Kirk Edwards, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Marlon Samuels, Danza Hyatt, Kieron Pollard, Carlton Baugh(w), Darren Sammy(c), Andre Russell, Kemar Roach, Devendra Bishoo.