Rahane, Dhoni push India to 251/4

Rahane, Dhoni push India to 251/4

Rahane, Dhoni push India to 251/4
 Fighting half centuries from Ajinkya Rahane and Mahendra Singh Dhoni allowed
India to post a competitive 251 for four against the West Indies after a slowish surface tested the visitors' high profile batting line-up in the third ODI here today.

Indian batsmen found the run-scoring tough before the efforts of Rahane (72 off 112) and Dhoni (78 not out 79) took India past the 250-run mark.

Kedhar Jadhav (40 not out off 26) too played his part well while batting alongside Dhoni as India amassed 100 off the last 60 balls.

It was not a surprise that West Indies captain Jason Holder chose to put the opposition in to bat after overnight rain left moisture in the pitch, also delaying the match start by 45 minutes.

The wicket offered spongy bounce early on and its slowness made batting difficult. The heavy rain last night also made the outfield slow.

The conditions led to India feeling the heat for  the first time in the series with the in-form Shikhar Dhawan (2) and skipper Virat Kohli (11) back in hut by the 10th over, leaving the visitors at 34 for two.

Dhawan was caught while trying to guide a short ball off Miguel Cummins over the third man boundary.

Kohli was out to a brilliant catch by debutant Kyle Hope at gully after the premier batsman poked at a Holder delivery that rose off the pitch sharply.

Last match's centurion Rahane then resurrected the innings  alongside Yuvraj Singh (39 off 55) as the duo shared a 66-run stand.

However, with the odd ball stopping on the batsmen, run scoring did not get any easier as the innings progressed.

When Yuvraj fell lbw to leggie Devendra Bishoo (1/38) after a successful review, India were 100 for three in 26.2 overs.

What followed was a 70-run stand between Rahane and Dhoni. Rahane, playing in place of the rested Rohit Sharma, continued from where he left off at Port of Spain.

Strokemaking was tough but the Mumbai batsman still found a way to score his 18th ODI half century, and his third 50- plus score in as many games.

His innings comprised just four boundaries, showing it was all hard work out in the middle.

Dhoni took the innings forward after Rahane perished to a spectacular running catch from Bishoo in the deep, making it 170 for four in 42.2 overs.

The onus was on Dhoni to provide the final flourish and he did that in his trademark style .

He  completed his 63rd half century with a single. The former India captain had hit only three fours until then but need of the hour was the big hits from his bat.

He finally cut loose in the 47th over, smashing Holder for consecutive sixes, one over the bowler's head and the other over square leg after picking it from outside off.

Jadhav too supported him well in the death overs, smashing four boundaries and a six.