What does one have to do to beat India at home? That’s the question many visiting teams are left asking by the time they get ready to leave the subcontinent.
After a brutal thrashing in the test matches preceding the ODIs, India beat West Indies with an inning and 272 runs in the first test and 10 wickets in the next to take two for two. While these two matches were brutal, never giving the Windies a chance, the first ODI proved to be crushing because of the way in which India flexed its muscle to chase down a respectable target, with 8 wickets in hand and 47 balls to spare.
India won the toss and elected to field first. The West Indian captain Jason Holder had said on the eve of the match that they needed to put on a score of at least 300 runs to have a chance against the formidable Indian batting lineup. 21-year-old Hetmeyer produced a fine century (106 off 78) to propel the West Indians to a score of 322 runs, with the Indian bowling attack unable to restrict the run flow in the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, who have been rested for the first 2 ODIs. Hetmeyer completed his first half-century in 41 balls and brought up two 50 run partnerships- with Rovman Povell (22) and Jason Holder (38). The centurion was dismissed right after crossing the landmark with a lofted 6 off Shami by Ravindra Jadeja. Notably, Marlon Samuels departed for a duck in his landmark 200th ODI.
When brought in to bat, India suffered an early loss as Shikhar Dhawan was bowled by Oshane Thomas for 4. That, however, turned out to be the only hopeful celebration the West Indians could manage that day as Kohli and Rohit settled in for a 246 run second-wicket stand which completely took the game away from the visitors.
Kohli was aggressive in the beginning, reaching his first half century in only 35 balls, giving time for Rohit to settle in (first 50 of 51 balls). In the latter half of the innings the Mumbaikar overtook the Delhite's pace, completing his next 50 in just 34 balls, with Kohli reaching his ton in 88 balls. The captain looked good to go for 150 but fell 10 runs short getting stumped off a leg break by Bishoo.
The damage, however, had already been done, and the wicket simply delayed the inevitable Indian victory with Raydu coming in to support Rohit- who finished his innings at 152 not out. He now has the maximum number of 150+ scores, with this being his sixth time, overtaking Sachin and Warner’s five each. This was not the only record he registered, also becoming the second fastest Indian batsmen to complete 4000 runs in international cricket, taking just one more innings than Gavaskar’s 86. Kohli and Rohit now have the most number of 200+ runs partnerships in ODIs with five, while the next closest pairs (3) are at 3 each. Kohli also became the fastest man to 60 ODI centuries, taking 386 innings- 40 fewer than Tendulkar, while also becoming the captain with second most number of centuries (17) after Ricky Ponting.
By Dhruv Malik