ODI: India sweep WI series without much trouble

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West Indies batting, in particular, was a complete disaster. Their top order was in give-away mode once more, behaving as if they were playing leisure cricket. India achieved a 3-0 ODI series whitewash with a total of 169 all out in pursuit of 266 runs. The hosts scarcely broke a sweat under the lights at Motera. Ian Bishop, commentating for the host broadcaster, advocated for the establishment of a Caribbean High-Performance Centre.

The bowling of the West Indies was excellent, and their only positive takeaway from this setback was some individual gains. Prior to the Indian Premier League auction, Alzarri Joseph and Odean Smith improved their reputations.

Last year, Joseph went unsold. It would almost certainly be different this time. Smith (36, 18 balls) combined his batting and bowling pyrotechnics, slamming Kuldeep Yadav and maybe jeopardising the chinaman bowler’s auction aspirations. However, in the context of the third One-Day International, which India won by 96 runs, it was simply postponing the inevitable.

The hosts, too, suffered a top-order collapse, but it was largely down to Joseph’s (2/54), who bent his back on a bouncy, slightly two-paced ground. Virat Kohli was caught down the leg-side and was given a soft dismissal, which is common during a lean period. Kohli is having a long one, and after getting out for a duck, he had a rueful expression on his face.

Joseph’s first victim was Rohit Sharma, who had began the match with a rasping square cut against Kemar Roach off the first ball. Without changing his feet, the India captain attempted a cover drive and inside-edged a fullish delivery to the stumps. Kohli was dismissed a few balls later, giving Joseph a double-wicket maiden. He dismissed Sharma and Kohli in the same over for the second time in the series.

In Smith’s first over, the returning Shikhar Dhawan fell victim to the additional bounce and India were reduced to 42/3 in the tenth over. KL Due to a niggle, Rahul sat out this game, and Shreyas Iyer stepped in at No. 4 after recuperating from Covid. To resuscitate India’s innings, he had Rishabh Pant by his side. Both batted half-centuries, scoring 110 runs for the fourth wicket in distinct styles. Pant’s knock was silky smooth, but Iyer’s was a little laboured. However, the latter gradually became a part of the game.

Pant’s batting style exemplifies Orwell’s ‘doublethink,’ in which one accepts both responsibility and irresponsibility at the same time. He can do both sublime and messed-up things. Nobody is sure which Pant will show up. It was the former on Friday, with all of his grace and vast range of shots. The left-hander took his time, didn’t make any mistakes with his shot selection, and made batting appear simple. He was the only batsman who appeared to be at ease from the start.

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