Kohli century sets up series win

Virat Kohli cracked his 20th ODI hundred and Suresh Raina and Ajinkya Rahane made fifties as India comfortably downed a seemingly eager-to-leave West Indies in Dharamsala. The news that West Indies’ tour had been cut short due to the players’ payment dispute with their board broke during India’s innings, and the visitors backed that up with a shoddy all-round fielding and bowling performance. Marlon Samuels overcame a struggle of a start to make his seventh ODI century, but barring Andre Russell’s belated, brief blitz, the rest of the West Indies line-up sank after India had racked up 330. India took the five-match series 2-1, with the third ODI washed out by a cyclone and the fifth cancelled by West Indies’ pullout.

There was more bounce in the Dharamsala track than on most Indian ODI pitches, but it was useful to the bowling side only when backed by serious pace. West Indies weren’t really willing to bend their backs barring the odd occasion. They were eager to bowl short, though, and continued to do so throughout the innings. And India kept hooking and pulling harmless stomach-high bouncers to the short boundaries.

As early as the first ball of the second over, Shikhar Dhawan showed there was nothing to worry about the bouncers short on intent as he pulled Jason Holder for four. West Indies refused to learn and Dhawan helped himself to easy boundaries.

Ajinkya Rahane was timing the ball superbly at the other end, caressing full deliveries both sides of the wicket. West Indies tried bowling wide with a packed off-side field, but Rahane disturbed those plans by stepping out and going leg side.

The stand had grown to 70 in the 12th over when Andre Russell combined pace with bounce and Dhawan, not for the first time, top-edged an awkward hook to the deep.

West Indies had an opportunity to claw back further in Russell’s next over, but Jerome Taylor spilled a simple chance at fine leg off another top-edged hook, reprieving Rahane on 38.

Kohli had made his first fifty across Tests and ODIs since February in the previous game in Delhi at No. 4. Back at his usual No. 3, he had his ODI autopilot mode on from ball one, to which he leaned forward solidly and pushed a single to cover. There was some turn and bounce for the spinners, and Kohli wasn’t going to go after anything unless it was too wide or short.

Kohli and Rahane collected 72 at just under five an over without taking any risk, and it took an incorrect leg-before decision against Rahane, on 68, to break the partnership.

India were 142 for 2 when Rahane went in the 27th over. Kohli and Raina nearly doubled that with a 138-run stand that took 108 balls.

West Indies had gone overboard with the short ball; they weren’t going to hold back against Raina. But even he wasn’t troubled with their half-hearted, predictable offerings as he swiped and pulled five sixes on way to 71 off 58.

Raina and Kohli collected 52 off the batting Powerplay, and India took 94 off the last ten overs as West Indies, who had been threatening to do so all the time, completely lost it in the field. The dropped chances, overthrows and misfields piled up.

Kohli reached his hundred on an overthrow off his 101st delivery, and he and MS Dhoni were both put down in the same over. Kohli ended with 127 off 114.

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