Russell's blitz puts Indians in a spot

Unbeaten 92 propels Windies to 225/8

Russell's blitz puts Indians in a spot

Parthiv Patel whips off the bails to leave Marlon Samuels stranded off the bowling of Amit Mishra in the third one-day international at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium in Antigua on Saturday. AFPThe change of venue was expected to instill some amount of competitiveness into the third one-dayer between India and the West Indies. But it didn’t happen so.

The West Indies produced yet another lame effort, and could muster only 225 for eight, thanks to the late fireworks by Andre Russell (92 n.o, 64b, 8x4, 5x6). The pitch at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium here offered more life than the Queens Park Cricket Club at Port of Spain. But strangely, the West Indian batsmen seemed to be under freeze against the Indian bowlers.

It’s not that they came up with an exceptional effort, but it was more a case of the home side batsmen struggling against the spot-on Indian bowlers, especially Amit Mishra. The leg-spinner didn’t spin the ball prodigiously, but his subtle variations were enough to create doubts.

It was the third straight match that the Haryana bowler posed tough questions to the home batsmen, and they failed miserably on all the occasions to find proper answers. But the destruction job was started by Munaf Patel in the second over of the match, getting rid of Kirk Edwards. The right-hander was a nominee for the WIPA Emerging Player of the Year award, but Edwards has not been able to live up to his potential thus far in the series.

A pitch with reasonable carry and consistent bounce was there for him to exploit on a scorching Saturday, but the youngster prodded nervously outside the off-stump off Munaf to give Parthiv Patel a simple offering behind the stumps. But a steady phase followed as Lendl Simmons and Ramnaresh Sarwan added 65 runs for the second wicket.

Sarwan has been quite impressive in the series so far, notching up a couple of fifties, and he looked set for another long vigil. Simmons, another very good young talent, had showed signs of getting back into his groove in the second one-dayer, carving a fifty. Their alliance was solid as both the batsmen looked comfortable against both pace and spin, using their feet and the crease to good effect.

Just as their partnership seemed to assume bigger proportions, Sarwan got run out in a mix-up with Simmons, and that triggered a spectacular collapse. The West Indies had lost four wickets for five runs in the last match, and here they lost six batsmen while adding a mere 31 runs. None of the dismissals was a result of a magic spell, but they were more a reflection of the technical and temperamental inadequacies of the home side batsmen.

Simmons (45, 68b, 4x4, 1x6) was looking well settled till the departure of Sarwan. But the dismissal of his senior partner rattled him with nervousness suddenly creeping into him, and soon he followed Sarwan, feathering Mishra to Virat Kohli at slips.

A procession of the West Indian batsmen followed as Marlon Samuels, debutant Danza Hyatt, Kieron Pollard and skipper Darren Sammy returned to the hutch as Windies slumped to 96 for seven in 29.3 overs.

A sudden end was very much on cards at that stage as the Indian bowlers moved in for the kill. But the West Indies found two brave soldiers in wicketkeeper-batsman Carlton Baugh and Russell, who milked 78 runs for the eighth wicket. They blended caution with aggression to a nicety while giving a study class to their more accomplished team-mates about tackling the Indian bowlers.

Baugh was sedate in his ways, but Russell used the long handle to disrupt the rhythm of opposition bowlers, and the two massive sixes he smashed off Yusuf Pathan revealed his positive mindset. India might have envisaged a target in the region of 150, but now they need to get at least 75 more than that.

SCORE BOARD

WEST INDIES

Simmons c Kohli b Mishra    45
(68b, 4x4, 1x6)
Edwards c P Patel b M Patel    0
(2b)
Sarwan (run out)    28
(38b, 2x4, 1x6)
Samuels st P Patel b Mishra    1
(10b)
Hyatt b Mishra    1
(5b)
Pollard c P Patel b Harbhajan    6
(16b)
Baugh c Dhawan b M Patel     36
(73b)
Sammy c P Patel b M Patel    3
(14b)
Russell (not out)    92
(64b, 8x4, 5x6)
Roach (not out)    7
(10b)
Extras (LB-2, W-4)    6
Total (for 8 wkts, 50 overs)    225
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Edwards), 2-65 (Sarwan), 3-70 (Samuels), 4-74 (Hyatt), 5-77 (Simmons), 6-91 (Pollard), 7-96 (Sammy), 8-174 (Baugh).
Bowling: Praveen 10-1-46-0, M Patel 10-1-60-3 (w-2), Mishra 10-2-28-3, Harbhajan 10-2-24-1 (w-2), Pathan 5-0-27-0, Kohli 1-0-7-0, Raina 4-0-31-0.
Scoring pattern: 5 overs: 10/1, 10: 45/1, 20: 74/4, 30: 96/7, 40: 148/7, end of innings: 225/8 in 50 overs
Power Play 1: 1-10 overs: 45/1, Power Play 2: 11-15 overs: 20/1, Power Play 3 (batting): 41.1-46 overs: 24/1.
 

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