PUNE, India, CMC – The West Indies finally got their first win on the tour of India, as they produced a disciplined batting and bowling performance on their way to a 43-run victory over the home side despite another Virat Kohli century in the third One Day International at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here yesterday.
Kohli scored 107 to become the first Indian player to score hundreds in three successive ODIs, but it was not enough to prevent the Windies from levelling the five-match series at 1-1.
Buoyed by Shai Hope’s 95 and a late 22-ball cameo of 40 from Ashley Nurse, the West Indies got up to a competitive total of 283 for nine in their 50 overs.
Despite Kohli’s heroics, India’s batsmen mostly misfired as they were eventually dismissed for 240 in 47.4 overs, with Marlon Samuels grabbing three wickets.
The victory was only the Windies’ sixth in the last seven years against India and their fifth win overall in the last 26 ODIs dating back to January 2017.
Having scored over 320 runs in the two previous ODIs, India would have favoured their chances of chasing down 284.
Captain Jason Holder struck early on though, uprooting Rohit Sharma’s middle stump for just eight, after the opener played down the wrong line of a delivery which just moved away from him to leave the score eight for one.
This brought Kohli to the crease and he, immediately with Shikhar Dhawan, sought to build a lasting partnership.
The two took a particular liking to left-arm seamer Obed McCoy, who Dhawan slapped for two consecutive boundaries through cover in his first over to bring up the 50-run partnership.
Kohli joined in on the action too, first flicking a McCoy delivery to fine leg for four and then ruthlessly driving him straight back down the ground off successive deliveries, as McCoy’s first two overs went for 20 runs.
But just as it seemed the two were changing gear, Dhawan tried an ambitious sweep off Nurse from middle stump, missed and was given out leg before wicket for 35 to leave India 88 for two.
Kohli however, continued his assault, launching a Nurse delivery over deep square leg for four to bring up his half-century off 63 balls and added a six shortly after when he lifted debutant Fabian Allen over long off.
Ambati Rayudu had looked in good touch, sweeping a Nurse delivery to the boundary and then driving him over mid-off for another to quickly move to 22.
Allen gave new batsman Rishabh Pant a `life’ when he put down a difficult chance diving to his left off the bowling of McCoy, off the first ball he faced.
Pant responded by smashing McCoy for two boundaries and added a six off Allen for good measure as India kept pace with the required run rate.
Nurse though, would have Pant dismissed for a quickfire 24 from 18 deliveries after calling for a review. He had originally been given not out but the review showed the faintest of touches as the ball nicked his glove on the way through to the wicketkeeper.
At the other end Kohli kept grinding on, with another boundary through midwicket moving him into the 80’s.
He continued to lose partners though, with Mahendra Singh Dhoni edging a catch behind off the bowling of Holder to leave India 194 for five.
Kohli eventually brought up his 38th ODI century off 110 balls, albeit a subdued celebration, with a single down to fine leg.
Following the dismissal of Bhuvneshwar Kumar for 10, Kohli’s attempt to go after Samuels cost him his wicket.
With the required run rate at over seven runs an over, Kohli completely missed his pull shot and was clean bowled by the part-time offspinner, to spark wild celebrations among the Windies’ players, with Indian slumping to 220 for seven in the 42nd over.
He faced 119 balls and struck 10 fours and one six.
His departure signalled the end of India’s resistance, with Samuels grabbing the final two wickets to wrap up the match.
Earlier, crucial knocks from Hope, Shimron Hetmyer and Nurse, helped the Windies get up to their eventual target.
Hope narrowly missed out on his second hundred of the series, but formed several crucial partnerships to help revive the innings.
He first shared a 56-run, fourth wicket stand with Hetmyer and then in a 76-run, sixth wicket partnership with Holder.
Hope eventually departed in the 44th over with triple figures in sight, and it was left to Nurse, batting at number nine, to propel the innings late with four fours and two sixes.