While the Indians shot themselves in the foot, credit is due to the hosts for their good show, writes Vivian Richards

I am going to succumb to the temptation of saying "I told you so".

At the start of this series the Indians were on a high, having lost very few ODIs over the past six months. However, the West Indians had not done too badly either, and I saw that guys like Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan were living up to their potential and talent in the abbreviated form of the game. I knew that the Indians had a fight on their hands.

Now that the hosts are 2-1 up, all the pressure is on the Indians. Friday's game is a do-or-die one for them, and since they were the ones tipped to breeze through this one-day series, they will surely be feeling the heat.

While the last match did end in the last over, the West Indians looked ahead of India in both fielding and batting. In fact, the manner of collapse in two straight games would be a cause for worry for Dravid and Chappell.

Problems galore

Some lethargic running on Mahendra Singh Dhoni's part triggered the Indian slide, and it was truly a dramatic collapse. The team did not seem to have a Plan B to fall back on, once the wickets started to fall, and the absence of Yuvraj Singh did not help their cause.

Mohammed Kaif has been among the runs, but his batting so far has been pretty scratchy. This is robbing his team of some momentum in the middle overs. He is still finding his way back to form and rhythm, and his team needs him to find both as soon as possible.

What must hurt and worry the Indians is the fact that they had a great platform for a 300-plus total, and in the end they could not even reach 250.

While the Indians shot themselves in the foot, some credit is due to the hosts as well.

Dwayne Bravo bowled smartly to get Sehwag out, against the run of play. The latter was really stroking the ball well, and was looking pretty ominous.

Unfortunately none of his teammates was able to capitalise on that start.

Surprising choice

When the West Indians came out to chase, I was a little surprised at the decision to send Marlon Samuels up the order. The opening pair has done very well of late, and there was no need to tamper with it. However, Gayle and Sarwan were equal to the task, and showed flair as well as responsibility to take their team to the target.

Like Yuvraj, Sarwan too has developed into a mature cricketer after a few initial hiccups. There was never any doubt about their talent, but now they have learnt to temper their ability with responsibility.

For talent to be respected by others, the individual who possesses it must respect it first. Both these guys have learnt this lesson and are two stars I would watch out for in next year's World Cup.

Missing Tendulkar

As the one-day series draws to an exciting finish, India announced their Test side. The absence of Sachin Tendulkar is going to hit the team hard, and nobody is going to feel the blow as keenly as the captain.

Without Tendulkar, the middle order is looking a little vulnerable, and this will put a lot of pressure on Dravid. He is going to have to provide all the guidance in the dressing room and being the backbone of the batting as well as leader, his plate looks really full.

A challenging summer has already begun for Dravid, but few days will be as important as Friday, when his team fights to stay alive in the one-day series.


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