In a team sport, individual brilliance can lift team spirit. On the other hand, a blooper can deal a crushing blow. Both aspects were on display in ample measure at Vizag during the second one-day international between India and the West Indies on Friday.
Once blunders outnumber moments of brilliance, it's difficult for a team to end up on a winning note. Despite the West Indies managing to salvage their innings thanks to Ravi Rampaul's unbeaten 86, who helped the visitors to a more than respectable 269 for nine, the visitors slipped badly on the field. And India, riding on Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma's fourth-wicket partnership of 163 runs, took a 2-0 lead in the five-match series with a five-wicket victory.Had the West Indies wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin not dropped Kohli in the 13th over, moments after play had resumed after a 44-minute rain interruption, the visitors would have been on top. Despite earning two lives, skipper Virender Sehwag was at his uncomfortable best. And, with Parthiv Patel falling early and Gautam Gambhir perishing to an astonishing catch by Adrian Barath at covers, India would have been staring down the barrel.
But Kohli, who was batting on 20, made the West Indies pay for the lapse. And Sharma, who was adjudged the man of the series in the ODI series in the West Indies and man of the match at Cuttack three night ago, carried forward his love affair with the West Indies bowling attack with yet another classy knock to help India knock the target with relative ease.
But, had it not been for the resistance shown by the West Indies tail, Kohli wouldn't have been able to notch up his eighth ODI ton and Sharma his second successive fifty.
After a 15-minute delay in start due to a light drizzle, Umesh Yadav and R Vinay Kumar made short work of the West Indies top and middle order. Even before any of the West Indies batsmen, barring Lendl Simmons, could get their eye in, they were back in the pavilion, thanks to Yadav movement and Vinay's accuracy.
But Pollard turned it on for the islanders, sending Ashwin over the ropes on either side of the sightscreen off successive deliveries. But an umpiring error brought his inning to an abrupt end.
Then Ravi Rampaul and Kemar Roach put on a scintillating unbroken stand of 99 runs for the last wicket to help the West Indies put up a fighting total. But, it was not enough.