The centuries kept coming for Virat Kohli in ODIs but this time he ended up by on the losing side as the West Indies stunned the hosts by 43 runs in Pune on Saturday.
With their first win of the tour, Jason Holder’s men have levelled the series 1-1 in style after three matches and have set up the series beautifully with all to play for both the sides in the remaining two games.
Kohli meanwhile continued doing what he does best–show up with a century (this time, a 107) and became the third Indian and 10th successive in international cricket to score three consecutive hundreds in ODIs.
That this win was on the cards for the Windies was evident from the second game in Visakhapatnam where the proceedings ended in a draw. This time too, it was Shai Hope, who held fort for the West Indies with the bat with a patient 95 from 113 balls where he hit six fours and half the number of sixes.
After having experimented by batting first in Vizag, Kohli opted to chase in Pune and his bowling department was handed a boost with the inclusions of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah.
The move seemed to pay off as well with Bumrah sending back two of the first three wickets to fall as the visitors were led rattled at 55/3. But it was valiant Hope who helped the Caribbeans claw back into the series with a solid 95. The stroke-maker looked at absolute ease while batting on a slow pitch and held the innings together until a scintillating yorker from Bumrah completely shattered the furniture behind the right-hander, leaving him five short of a deserved, consecutive ODI century.
Hope was also assisted with a quickfire 40 from 22 balls with four fours and two sixes and cameos from Holder (32) and Kemar Roach (15) as the West Indies ended their innings with 283 runs on the board. Bumrah was the best bowler with four wickets while Kuldeep Yadav got two to his name.
If it was the West Indies bowling which had let them down in the first ODI, the third match would serve as a timely reminder that they are a completely different side when it came to limited overs’ cricket.
And when Holder castled Rohit Sharma in the very second over of the innings, the West Indies sensed that this could just be their game. For a while, it looked as if India would once again run away with this one courtesy a 79-run stand between Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan and then a 47-run partnership between the skipper and India’s new number four Ambati Rayudu.
But the landscape changed drastically with Rishabh Pant’s dismissal in the 32nd over which left India at 172/4–a position from where they fancied themselves to chase down the runs.
But perhaps no one saw the slump coming. The number one ranked ODI side then went on to lose their remaining six wickets for just 68 runs as they succumbed to a shocking 43-run loss.
Brief score: West Indies 283 for 9 (Hope 95, Nurse 40, Bumrah 3-35) beat India 240 (Kohli 107, Samuels 3-12, McCoy 2-38) by 43 runs.
Image Source: NDTV