Hetmyer, Hope centuries give West Indies 1-0 lead

Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope hit brilliant centuries as West Indies hammered India by eight wickets in the first ODI at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.

Hetmyer and Hope's match-winning stand of 218 runs took the game away from India.   -  B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope hit brilliant centuries as West Indies hammered India by eight wickets in the first ODI at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday.

On a slow pitch where the Indian batsmen struggled for strokeplay and timing, Hetmyer (139, 106b, 11x4, 7x6) and Hope (102*, 151b, 7x4, 1x6) put on a batting exhibition as the visitor took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Defending 287, Deepak Chahar gave India an early breakthrough by removing opener Sunil Ambris. But, India's joy was shortlived as Hetmyer along with Hope forged a match-winning 218-run stand to take the game away from India.

The left-right combination put the India bowlers in a tight spot as the pacers struggled to get their lengths right and both batsmen, Hetmyer in particular, pounced on anything that was short and wide.

Scorecard | Highlights

Driving through the line was difficult given the slow nature of the track. But Hetmyer found a way by standing outside the crease to the pacers and picking the length early. While dealing the spinners, he went deep into the crease and unleashed shots on either side of the wicket.

Kuldeep Yadav did extract some turn and almost provided a breakthrough straightaway. But, Rohit Sharma put down a tough chance at slip to give Hope a reprieve on 10.

The partnership prospered under lights with both batsmen complementing each other in fine fashion.

Hope drops anchor

Hope was happy to play the role of a second fiddle and let Hetmyer take charge. If there was some pressure built by Chahar, Kedar Jadhav released it by giving 11 runs in an over and that changed the course of the game.

Both batsmen kept riding the wave and Hetmyer swiftly changed gears after crossing his half-century. In 85 deliveries, Hetmyer got to his century battling cramps while Hope reached his fifty off 92 balls.

Hope's strike rate was hovering around 50, Hetmyer's was double and the partnership was going at run-a-ball. With India running out of ideas, Ravindra Jadeja made things worse by leaking runs and ended up conceding 58 runs from his 10 overs. Shivam Dube too proved ineffective.

Read: Jadeja run out creates controversy after umpire's late referral

Shami finally removed Hetmyer and Shreyas Iyer, having dropped the centurion on 106, took a clean catch to bring an end to an outstanding innings in testing conditions.

The crowd gave a standing ovation to Hetmyer as he walked back. From then Hope took control and with Nicholas Pooran ensured India didn't stage a fightback.

Taking the game deep, Hope with a flat six and a pull to the mid-wicket boundary off Chahar brought his century in 149 deliveries. In the next over, Pooran with three boundaries took the Windies home. 

Iyer, Pant shine

Earlier, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant hit half-centuries and helped India post a competitive total of 287 for the loss of eight wickets.

India skipper Virat Kohli was surprised when West Indies opted to bowl first. However, the home side was under pressure after the top-order departed early.

K.L. Rahul fell of a leading edge, while Kohli got off the mark with a gorgeous off-drive. Windies welcomed Kohli with a slip in place and after the India skipper played the drive, the slip was removed and mid-off was brought up. The next ball, Kohli tried to run down the ball but the slowness of the pitch meant, he played on.

Rohit Sharma, on the other hand, relied on singles and bisected the gaps to find the boundaries. Having lost two early wickets, Rohit and Iyer began the repair job and brought their fifty run partnership.

Also read: Rishabh Pant scores first ODI half-century

However, against the run of play, Rohit perished as he pulled Alzari Joseph straight into the hands of Kieron Pollard at mid-wicket. At 80/3, in walked a determined Pant and along with Iyer pushed West Indies on the backfoot.

The duo curtailed their aggressive style of batting and instead focussed on strike rotation. Banking on singles and occasionally finding the boundaries, the duo brought their 50-run stand in 66 deliveries. And having got their eye in, they shifted gears to raise the 100-run stand in the next 33 deliveries.

Their quest to further accelerate saw both Pant and Iyer missing centuries but their 114-run stand gave India the luxury for a final assault. The returning Kedar Jadhav did his part with a 35-ball 40.