Virat Kohli led from the front with a fine century to guide India to 279/7 and Bhuvneshwar Kumar followed that up with a four-wicket haul as India won by 59 runs against the West Indies in the second ODI of the three-match series in Trinidad on Sunday.
Kohli ended a mini-drought of sorts by scoring his 42nd ODI century and then the Indian bowlers produced a clinical display in a rain-affected match as the visitors took a 1-0 lead. West Indies collapsed 148/3 to be 210 all out, and India won with four of the 46 overs to spare.
Evin Lewis top-scored for the hosts with 65 runs.
Kumar (4/31) picked up four wickets for India, and was assisted by two wickets each from Mohammed Shami (2/39) and Kuldeep Yadav (2/59).
Coming on to bat in the fourth ball of the innings, Kohli played aggressively and scored 120 off 125 balls to guide India’s innings. He hit 14 boundaries and one six during his elegant knock.
Besides Kohli, Shreyas Iyer (71 off 68) struck third half-century of his career and together with his skipper shared 125 runs for the fourth wicket to take India to a comfortable position.
But it was far from rosy for India at the start as after opting to bat, they lost Shikhar Dhawan in the third ball of the innings, caught plumb in front of the wicket by Sheldon Cottrell.
Then came in skipper Kohli and in the company of Rohit Sharma (18) played fluently to stabilise the Indian innings.
While Kohli looked in great nick from the onset, Rohit struggled to rotate the strike and played the second fiddle.
Kohli played some delightful shots through the covers and off his pads to register his 55th ODI fifty with an outside edge past West Indies wicketkeeper Shai Hope off Carlos Brathwaite (3/53) in the 15th over.
Rohit’s struggle finally came to an end when he sliced a Roston Chase delivery to Nicholas Pooran, who took a fine catch at point while running backwards. The duo shared 74 runs for the second wicket off 90 balls.
Rishabh Pant made 20 off 35 balls with the help of two boundaries before another poor shot did him in. Bogged down by 12 dots off 14 balls, Pant went for an slog across the line off Brathwaite only to find his timbers disturbed as India were reduced to 101/3.
Kohli and Iyer then played aggressively and milked the West Indian bowlers to keep the scoreboard ticking. The duo rotated the strike and found the fence when bad deliveries were on offer.
But hot and humid conditions got the better of Kohli in the 42nd over as the Indian skipper played a tired-looking shot only to be holed by Kemar Roach at long-off off Brathwaite.
Iyer played a good knock before some brilliant bowling from West Indies skipper Jason Holder got the better of him. Iyer was bowled around his legs as he went across the stumps for an extravagant shot. He hit five boundaries and one six during his knock.
West Indies came back strongly in the last 10 overs to peg back the Indians with some clever bowling display. Comfortably placed at 212 for 3, the Indians could only manage 67 runs for the loss of four wickets in the last 10 overs.
As it turned out, that score was more than enough in a match that witnessed a couple of rain delays. Set a revised target of 270 in 46 overs, the hosts lost their way despite looking good at one point to complete a record run-chase.
During the West Indies innings, Gayle set the record for scoring the most runs in ODIs by a Caribbean cricketer. He went past Brian Lara’s tally in his 300th ODI but struggled overall, once again. He was Kumar’s first wicket.
Lewis and Pooran looked in good touch but Kuldeep and Kumar accounted for their wickets to trigger the collapse.
Kohli was declared man of the match for his classy ton.
(With PTI inputs)