Rohit, Jadeja star in fifth ODI; India wraps series 3-1

India completed a nine-wicket demolition of the West Indies in the fifth and final ODI for its sixth successive series win at home.

The victorious Indian team after clinching the five-match ODI series 3-1.   -  AP

The sky was overcast. The outfield was soft and wet. The wicket was a bit damp.

Jason Holder won the toss and – to borrow from a celebrated phrase from writer Martin Johnson – put West Indies into bat in front of a sea of blue at the Greenfield Stadium. A grateful Indian attack obliged and bowled India to a crushing nine-wicket victory in the fifth One-Day International on Thursday.

To be exact, you would have to call it a Half-Day International. For, it was all over even before the scheduled innings-break. 

IND vs WI, 5th ODI: Key highlights

All it took a wonderfully varied Indian attack to finish off the West Indies innings was just 31.5 overs. A target of 106 for a batting line-up headed by the Kohli & Sharma firm would have almost seemed like an insult.

India’s red-hot top-order reached the target in just 14.5 overs and thus won the five-match series 3-1. But, not before Virat and Rohit gave the capacity crowd of close to 40,000 some glimpses of their artistry that has been winning admirers the world over.

Few duos in the history of the limited-overs game have tangoed in tandem as stylishly as them. Like Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar, like Aamir Sohail and Saeed Anwar, like Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge, they provide sheer delight at both ends of the wicket.

Rohit (56 not out, 5x4, 4x6) and Virat (33 not out, 29 b, 6x4) were there together for only 13 overs and they had to survive some anxious moments created by the impressively quick, Oshane Thomas, the rookie about whom we are likely to hear more in the future. But they ensured the passionate crowd –which perhaps painted the deepest shade of blue by any crowd – got at least something back for their money. 

Also read: Rohit hits 200th six in ODIs

The Indian captain was treated with the loudest of cheers when he strode on to the ground in as early as the second over, after Thomas, only in his second game, had Shikhar Dhawan had playing on. The Delhi left-hander, who could not reach 40 even once in the five innings this series, had fallen in a similar manner to the same bowler at Guwahati in the first ODI. 

Kohli, though, didn’t allow Thomas to cherish that wicket for long as he drove gorgeously back the 149-kmph delivery all the way to the boundary. The young bowler nearly had his revenge though, but Holder, at first slip, failed to grab the catch offered by the man going through a Bradmanesque phase. He also had caught Rohit behind off a no-ball.

But, even a full moon will have some dark spots. The Mumbai stylist went about his usual way of scoring attractive runs. He combined grace and power in that unique fashion of his as he reached two more milestones. He became the second Indian batsman to complete 1000 ODI runs in this calendar year – after Kohli – and the fastest to hit 200 sixes (187 innings, eight less than Shahid Afridi).

The wicket had eased out by the time he and Kohli were at the crease. It was obviously more difficult when the touring batsmen batted earlier on in the afternoon, but some of them made their own contributions to ensure that they ended up with an inadequately low total for the second time in as many matches.

Bhuvenshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah utilised the English-like conditions beautifully to dismantle the West Indies top order in no time. They swung the ball nicely and gave little away. 

With the fourth ball of the match, Bhuvneshwar had Keiran Powell edging an outswinger to Dhoni. In the very next over, bowled by Bumrah, Windies slumped to two for two, when the in-form Shai Hope played an extravagant shot through the covers only to get an inside edge and bowled.

Marlon Samuels flickered briefly, playing some lovely shots, before he became the first of four wickets for Ravindra Jadeja. The left-arm spinner did no harm to his chances of making it to the World Cup squad, as he took good advantage of the conditions.