India vs West Indies: Virat Kohli heroics in vain as visitors level series in Pune
West Indies beat India by 43 runs in the third one-day international in Pune on Saturday to level the five-match series at 1-1.Updated: Oct 28, 2018 08:48 IST
When Rishabh Pant edged to Shai Hope behind the stumps in the 32nd over, the 25,000-odd crowd at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium erupted. The cheer was for MS Dhoni, who walked in with 114 required off 111 deliveries in the third ODI on Saturday.
Skipper Virat Kohli was on 78 off 88 balls and for the fans, a Kohli-Dhoni show seemed to be on the cards. For Dhoni too it was perhaps the ideal scenario a day after being axed for the T20Is against West Indies and Australia.
Skipper Kohli kept upping the ante. Two boundaries off Kemar Roach and Fabian Allen helped in his relentless hunger for runs. It all seemed to be going as per script. And then, Dhoni fell. Trying to steal a single to third man, he left the crowd in utter disbelief after edging one to the ‘keeper.
There was now a threat Kohli might run out of partners. In the absence of a batting all-rounder, he was left with only his bowlers, who had earned him nine wickets to hold West Indies to 283, with Shai Hope scoring 95.
Kohli eventually made 107, the first Indian to score three successive ODI centuries. Only Kumar Sangakkara (4) is ahead, and the skipper can match that in this series. India fell short by 43 runs, after being dismissed for 240 as the Windies, after a tie, pulled to series level 1-all with two games left.
EXQUISITE VIRAT SHOTS
It was a fantastic knock by the skipper. Deliveries were dispatched in exquisite fashion, impeccable timing having been the constant factor through the series. He reached his century in style, slamming one past the bowler for four.
A day earlier, chief selector MSK Prasad had said he expects Bhuvneshwar Kumar “to come good” in the absence of the injured Hardik Pandya but the Indian spearhead, who had a miserable comeback leaking 70 runs in his 10 overs, fell for 10 runs.
To add to India’s misery, Kohli was cleaned up by Marlon Samuels six deliveries later, to drive the final nail on Indian hopes.
It wasn’t a bad start for India though. Jasprit Bumrah, also making a comeback after being rested for the first two ODIs, cleaned up the openers before Samuels fell cheaply again. Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmeyr provided a brief fightback before Hetmyer fell to Kuldeep Yadav, Dhoni completing a lightning quick stumping.
Along with skipper Jason Holder, Hope demonstrated how to keep things simple while building a 76-run partnership for the sixth wicket. Laced with three sixes and six fours, he deserved a century but missed out by five runs. A loose shot ended Holder’s innings before Hope and debutant Fabian Allen were dismissed in the space of 15 deliveries.
While Hope went about his job well, holding back and accelerating, his knock had only done enough to help pull his side out of the initial mess. The challenging total was down to the heroics of Ashley Nurse, who scored a 22-ball 40 at No 9, including 19 off Bhuvneshwar in the 49th over.