Kochi: Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli missed out on respective hundreds but their 133-run stand for the second wicket provided India a comfortable six-wicket victory against a disappointing West Indies on Thursday.
Both the batsmen would be cursing themselves as at least one of them had the chance to get to a three-figure score. Having scored 141 and 209 in the preceding series against Australia and two back-to-back centuries in the Test series against West Indies, Rohit looked certain to add another ton to that list before he was holed out on 72 off Ravi Rampaul.
Kohli, who scored a magnificent 115* against the Aussies in Nagpur, was out 14 short of his 18th ODI hundred when he mistimed a Jason Holder delivery, giving a skier to Sunil Narine at long-off. However, before that he equalled Vivian Richards's record of quickest to 5000 ODI runs. Both have done it in 114 innings.
Suresh Raina came and went without troubling the scorers. Yuvraj Singh (16*) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (12*) then ensured that there was no further damage as India got to the 212-run target with more than 14 overs to spare.
While the West Indies batsmen couldn't get the measure of the Nehru Stadium wicket, which remained slow and low throughout the match, Rohit and Virat didn't have much issues when their turn came to chase the visitors' below-par 211.
The West Indies batsmen stuck in the spin web formed by the trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja away, who shared eight wickets between them. Only Darren Bravo (59) and Johnson Charles (42) showed some resistance at the top.
Earlier, Jadeja finished with 3 for 34, while Raina took 3 for 37 to rock the West Indies batting line-up. Ashwin also chipped in with two wickets giving away 42 runs.
Opting to bat, West Indies lost Chris Gayle off the very first ball of the match as the destructive batsman fell short of his ground while trying to take a risky single. Gayle, in fact, hurt himself while he tried to dive in and had to be carried out of the ground in a stretcher.
But West Indies recovered quickly from the early loss and opener Charles joined hands with Marlon Samuels to put on a solid 65-run partnership for the second wicket. The duo played with a lot of responsibility and picked on the loose deliveries to play their shots. Having taken a couple of overs to settle down, the West Indies batsmen chose Jaydev Unadkat for special treatment.
In Unadkat's second over, Samuels hit a six over cover before Charles took over. Charles repeatedly chose the aerial route during his knock, which included three consecutive fours in a Bhuvaneshwar Kumar over.
But introduction of Jadeja, who had been left out of the Tests because of an injured shoulder, in the 11th over produced the desired result for the hosts on the turning pitch here.
Diving to his left, Jadeja took a one-handed blinder off his own bowling to send back Charles. A couple of overs later, Samuels was bowled out by Raina for 24 off 35 balls.
However, despite losing two set batsmen at the introduction of spin, Bravo and Simmons went on to add another crucial 65 runs for the fourth wicket, although the boundaries almost dried up.
Raina then tightened the noose by trapping Simmons leg before, striking once again to dismiss Narsingh Deonarine (4) to leave the visitors reeling at 152 for 5. Bravo though held on to his wicket to complete his half-century even as the run-rate dipped drastically. But after taking the batting powerplay, Darren hit a couple of sixes and a four to release some pressure.
But it did not last long as Mohammed Shami cut short his innings. Jadeja then struck hard in the very next over to see off Bravo with the Windies scorecard reading 187 for 7. It was a matter of time before the visitors' innings folded in 48.5 overs.
(With PTI inputs)