India swiftly erased the memory of a poor second match to comprehensively beat the West Indies by 200 runs in the decisive third and final one-day international at the Brian Lara Stadium on Tuesday.
Even with senior players Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli still rested, the tourists’ batting finally came good collectively to post a formidable 351-5 batting first.
Their seamers then demolished the home side’s top order and a ninth-wicket partnership of 55 merely delayed the inevitable with the West Indies bundled out for 151 off 35.3 overs.
India’s margin of victory was their second largest in ODIs against the West Indies and also extended their run of bilateral series wins against the Caribbean team in the format to 13.
Openers Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan set the tone for the India innings after they were put in with man-of-the-series Kishan benefiting from an early dropped chance to belt 77 off 64 balls – his third consecutive half-century - in an opening stand of 143, a new record for the wicket for India in ODIs in the West Indies.
Gill was more circumspect in getting to a top score of 85 off 92 balls before falling to Gudakesh Motie, the left-arm spinner being the most economical for the home side in conceding just 38 runs from his 10 overs.
“This was definitely special to finally get a fifty on this tour,” said Gill after receiving the man-of-the-match award. “It’s all about playing according to the conditions and assessing the situation as quickly as possible.”
Sanju Samson also wasted no time in taking advantage of another rare ODI opportunity to smash 51 off 41 with four sixes.
Pandya piles on
However his impressive mid-innings assault was surpassed by Hardik Pandya, the stand-in captain hoisting five sixes and four fours in an unbeaten 70 off just 52 deliveries.
“I look forward to these sorts of games where there is something on the line,” said Pandya. F“We knew there was something at stake and the way the boys were up for it, came out and performed but also enjoyed it was really satisfying.”
In this first-ever men’s ODI to be played at the venue, the West Indies were never in the hunt after Mukesh Kumar’s opening burst removed openers Brandon King and Kyle Mayers before adding the important wicket of captain Shai Hope.
“I keep stressing on our attitude because I don’t think we are consistent enough,” Hope lamented. “Some days we compete with the best in the world, other days we get steamrolled. We have to work on this.”
Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadkat, playing his first ODI in 10 years, then joined the rout to have the home side in ruins at 50 for six.
Kuldeep Yadav’s wrist-spin claimed two more wickets and although Motie (39 not out) and Alzarri Joseph provided a measure of entertainment for the home fans, it was left to Thakur to claim the final two wickets to finish with the best figures of 4-37 and end the series as the leading wicket-taker with eight.
Both squads now prepare for the final leg of the tour, a five-match T20 international series, with the first fixture on Thursday also at the Brian Lara Stadium.