Rohit Sharma’s tenure as India ODI captain began with a 3-0 demolition of the West Indies after the impressive hosts put up an all-round performance to win the third game by 96 runs on Friday. Shreyas Iyer’s responsible 80 coupled with Rishabh Pant’s aggressive 56 powered India to a challenging 265 in the inconsequential fixture. The hosts then shot out their opponents for 169 in 37.1 overs as the visitors continued their dismal batting show. With one eye on the 2023 ODI World Cup, the Indian team management gained plenty of positives from their experiments in the third-match series including the emergence of pacer Prasidh Krishna as the strike bowler. He ended with nine wickets in the series.
Deepak Chahar, who did not play the third ODI, showed promise as a middle-order batter while Suryakumar Yadav showed that he could curb his natural aggressive intent if such a situation arises.
The wrist spinners Washington Sundar and Kuldeep Yadav, who made a return as a pairing, did not bowl together but did well individually.
An ordinary batting performance the West Indies batters also made the Indian bowlers’ task easier throughout the series.
The away team was never in the chase and was blown away by another stellar show of fast bowling.
Pacer Deepak Chahar, playing his first game of the series, struck twice in the fifth over. First he sent back Brandon King (14), who edged to Suryakumar Yadav in the slip cordon and then on the last ball of the over, removed Shamarh Brooks (0), leaving the visitors at 25/3. West Indies could not recover from there on.
The ODI series will be followed by three T20 in Kolkata beginning February 16.
Earlier, Shreyas and the flamboyant Pant resurrected the India innings with their 110-run stand after India suffered a top-order collapse to be reeling at 42/3.
The duo toyed with the opposition attack even as the southpaw displayed his hard-hitting prowess, striking six fours and a six.
The Mumbaikar, who was playing his first game after COVID recovery, looked in his elements, as he mixed caution and aggression. He completed his ninth ODI fifty with a single to deep extra cover.
After his fifty, Shreyas upped the ante as he and Pant completed their 100-run stand in 112 balls.
Pant too notched up his fifth ODI 50 with a single. But in the 30th over, he perished, giving leggie Hayden Walsh (2/59) his first wicket and Suryakumar Yadav (6) followed suit, as India lost half their side for 164.
But a determined Shreyas played his shots at will before giving a sitter to Darren Bravo at long-off in the 38th over. In his 111-ball knock, he hit nine boundaries.
However, Chahar (38; 4×4; 2×6) and Washington Sundar (33, 2×4; 1×6) played their parts to perfection and forged 53 runs for seventh wicket. Their knocks propelled India past the 260-run mark.
After opting to bat, India lost opener Rohit Sharma (13) cheaply. Pacer Alzarri Joseph (2/54) pegged the hosts back, by first cleaning up Rohit on the third ball of the fourth over and then dismissed Virat Kohli (0) on the fifth ball to leave the hosts teetering at 16/2.
Kohli tried to flick a delivery that was going down the leg, but edged to Shai Hope in what was a soft dismissal, extending the wait for his 71st hundred in international cricket.
Shikhar Dhawan (10) and Shreyas tried to rally the innings but were able to add only 26 runs for the third wicket.
Dhawan, who too played his first game of the series after recovering from COVD, became pacer Odean Smith’s (1/36) first victim as he was caught by Jason Holder in the slip cordon.