Irfan Pathan along with teammates celebrating the wicket of West Indies' Lendl Simmons during the final ODI cricket match in Chennai.
On the match eve, West Indies glovesman Denesh Ramdin had expressed his camp's desire to finish the tour on a high. However, despite a Kieron Pollard blitzkrieg, they ended their tour in a similar manner to most of their matches in India — with a lot of promise but little success.
Despite the burly Pollard's 110-ball 119, West Indies fell short of India's total of 267 for six to fold up for 233 in the 45th over in the last of the five ODIs at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday to lose the series 1-4.
As the Caribbean side chased a tough target on a wicket that assisted spin, India's new-ball pair of Irfan Pathan and Abhimanyu Mithun, with more than a little help from the on-field umpires, reduced the Windies to 36 for four in the 10th over when Pollard took guard.
With nothing to lose, the big-hitting all-rounder started using his long handle from the word go. It looked like he would single-handedly guide West Indies to a famous victory, but with the spinners striking regularly at the other end, Pollard was always going to fall short of the target.
In fact, had not Virat Kohli dropped a simple chance at mid-on, Pollard would have been deprived of his maiden ODI ton, by one run. Eventually, Suresh Raina forced Pollard to hit one to Ajinkya Rahane at the long-off fence to spark off the celebrations.
The hosts were keen to see how Rahane, Manoj Tiwary and Irfan Pathan fared in their first game of the series. Skipper Virender Sehwag, local hero R Ashwin and the ever-consistent R Vinay Kumar got a deserving rest ahead of the tour Down Under.
Rahane lasted one ball. A Kemar Roach delivery kept low and the Mumbai batsman was plumb in front of stumps. Parthiv Patel played onto the stumps the next ball.
Tiwary saw off the new ball threat with stand-in skipper Gautam Gambhir.
And once he got his eye in, the 26-year-old cut loose and took a full toll on the West Indies bowlers, especially spinners. After Gambhir gave away yet another good start in the 19th over, it became a Tiwary-Virat Kohli show for the next 20-odd overs.
Tiwary matched the in-form Kohli stroke for stroke. And if one wondered whether he would succumb to cramps, he hit a six on 90 and then glanced spinner Sunil Narine to fine-leg on 99 to reach his maiden List A ton. Two balls later, he was forced to retire due to cramps.
Pathan couldn't have asked for a better start on his return to the national side, taking a wicket off his first ball. And in his third over, Kieron Powell played on to his stumps. Though he was lacklustre in his latter spell, the Baroda bowler had done enough to justify his recall.