India completed a fantastic year as far as home one-day internationals are concerned with another victory over West Indies in a topsy-turvy ODI, on a sweltering day in Chennai, to make the series scoreline 4-1.
The focus in dead rubbers is usually on fringe players auditioning for bigger roles, and plenty took centre-stage at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Manoj Tiwary stated his case for a permanent place in an increasingly crowded India middle-order with his maiden one-day century and Kieron Pollard played his finest international innings without managing to complete a herculean task after West Indies’ top order did its familiar house-of-cards impersonation.
Those two were the headliners but there were significant contributions from other players scrapping for a place. Andre Russell showed why he should be an automatic pick for West Indies, legspinner Rahul Sharma displayed great accuracy and a cool head in only his second international match and Irfan Pathan caused plenty of excitement with his famous inswingers with the new ball.
India were missing their four biggest ODI batting stars but that didn’t prevent their next generation, led by Tiwary and Virat Kohli, from piling on 267 for 6 on a slow-and-low track. Then West Indies’ batting floundered against an attack that featured at most one player who would make India’s first-choice XI.
Pollard thought otherwise. The slow surface in Chennai is not suited to Pollard’s explosive style of batting but that did not prevent him from stroking some effortless sixes down the ground. The one shot he did put some power behind, in the 16th over, cleared not just the rope but the stands as well, landing on the roof over long-on. There were very few slogs in his entire innings; virtually all of his the sixes were hit with a straight bat.
Pollard interview after the game
The final stages of the Indian innings showed how difficult a surface it was to score on. Only three boundaries were hit in the final ten overs, as Sunil Narine proved hard to read, and Anthony Martin and Marlon Samuels didn’t offer any freebies. The damage had already been done though, and despite Pollard’s best efforts, West Indies couldn’t reduce the margin of defeat in the series, which was far more closely contested than the 4-1 scoreline suggests.
India were missing their four biggest ODI batting stars but that didn’t prevent their next generation, led by Tiwary and Virat Kohli.Manoj Tiwary, who guided India to a 34-run victory.despite Pollard’s best efforts, West Indies couldn’t reduce the margin of defeat in the series