Amit Mishra's probing spell leaves Windies batsmen befuddled
Situations throw up heroes. Down for the count at 96 for five, the West Indies discovered one in all-rounder Andre Russell.
The strongly-built Russell, picking the length early, and striking with ball with ferocious power between long-on and mid-wicket came up with an explosive 64-ball unbeaten 92.
And the West Indies — trailing 2-0 in the five-match Digicel ODI series — finished at 225 for eight. Russell orchestrated a significant recovery when all seemed lost for the host in the third ODI at the sun-lit Vivian Richards ground here on Saturday.
The innings — reminiscent of the Caribbean flair of old — saw Russell propel the ball over the ropes with freedom and flair. His innings included five sixes and eight boundaries. Crucially, his mind was not clouded by the fear of failure.
For India, leg-spinner Amit Mishra bowling with control, flight and dip impressed. His scalped three mixing his leg-spinner with the googly.
The Indians dominated until Russell cut loose. The all-rounder, cleared his front leg smoothly and brought his strong forearms and wrists into play. Importantly, he was able to get under the ball to find the elevation.
Yusuf Pathan's off-spin was dismissed by Russell, twice over mid-wicket for sixes. The West Indian tore into Suresh Raina in the penultimate over, thwacking the occasional off-spinner for two fours and an equal number of sixes.
Paceman Praveen Kumar came under the hammer in the final over. Russell clobbered him beyond mid-wicket; out of the ground and into the car park.
Russell and wicket-keeper batsman Carlton Baugh added 78 crucial runs for the eight wicket. Baugh, who held one end up, did not find the boundary during his 73-ball 36. He eventually succumbed to Munaf's change of pace.
Then, Russell and Kemar Roach raised an unbeaten 51 runs.
Earlier, India seeking to close out the series, was on the ball after Raina elected to field. On a rather sluggish pitch, there was some purchase for the spinners.
Once again the West Indies collapsed. From 65 for one in the 15th over, the side meekly crumbled to 96 for seven. The batsmen appeared clueless against Mishra.
In the early overs, Munaf Patel's corridor bowling and slight leg-cut took out Kirk Edwards; the opener, fatally, played away from his body.
Then, Lendl Simmons and Ramnaresh Sarwan put together a promising partnership. The Indians were pegged back.
Simmons is a compact batsman, who can drive cut and pull with panache. In fact, the opener took on Munaf, bringing his bat down in a lovely arc and sending the ball over the long-on fence.
At the other end, Sarwan, finally batting with a measure of fluency, eased Mishra over the bowler's head for a rousing six.
The 64-run stand concluded in the 15th over when Sarwan, dropping his bat, could not make the ground at the striker's end after Raina, moving swiftly from mid-wicket to square-leg, released the ball to 'keeper Parthiv.
The West Indies innings, then, lost its way. Marlon Samuels was sold the dummy by Mishra's loop and turn.
Operating to a fine line, Mishra created doubts in the batsmen's mind about the position of their off-stump. This was precisely why the batsmen pushed forward and missed as the ball drifted and turned.
The fact that he got the ball to dip indicated that Mishra was imparting serious revolutions on the ball. Danza Hyatt, bamboozled by a wrong 'un of flight and deception, was bowled off the inside edge.
The Caribbeans were simply not picking Mishra. Unable to read the hand, they attempted to play him off the pitch. The fact that Mishra has added a potent googly to his repertoire made their job harder.
The fighting Simmons (45) found a leg-spinner too hard to cope with and was picked up by Virat Kohli at slip. Mishra was on song.
There has been more hype than substance about Kieron Pollard in the series. Harbhajan bowled a telling line, forcing Pollard to push tentatively outside his off-stump. 'Keeper Parthiv appeal was belatedly upheld; Pollard seemed unhappy with the verdict.
Harbhajan gave little away and created the pressure for Mishra to strike. Spinners work in combinations.
The West Indian captain Darren Sammy did not last long either. He was prised out by a back-of-a-length away seamer from Munaf.
Then, the rampant Russell held centrestage.
West Indies: L. Simmons c Kohli b Mishra 45 (68b, 4x4, 1x6), K. Edwards c Parthiv b Munaf 0 (2b), R. Sarwan (run out) 28 (38b, 2x4, 1x6), M. Samuels st. Parthiv b Mishra 1 (10b), D. Hyatt b Mishra 1 (5b), K. Pollard c Parthiv b Harbhajan 6 (16b), C. Baugh c Dhawan b Munaf 36 (73b), D. Sammy c Parthiv b Munaf 3 (14b), A. Russell (not out) 92 (64b, 8x4, 5x6), K. Roach (not out) 7 (10b); Extras (lb-2, w-4) 6; Total (for eight wkts. in 50 overs) 225.
Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Edwards), 2-65 (Sarwan), 3-70 (Samuels), 4-74 (Hyatt), 5-77 (Simmons), 6-85 (Pollard), 7-96 (Sammy), 8-174 (Baugh).
India bowling: Praveen 10-1-46-0, Munaf 10-1-60-3, Mishra 10-2-28-3, Harbhajan 10-2-24-1, Yusuf 5-0-27-0, Kohli 1-0-7-0, Raina 4-0-31-0.
Keywords: India's tour of West Indies