Windies overcome Rohit Sharma to end India's streak
West Indies 260 for 5 (Samuels 58, Sammy 41*, Russell 40*) beat India 244 (Rohit 95, Rampaul 4-57) by 16 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It took Darren Sammy and Andre Russell 5.4 overs of mayhem to undo India's impressive afternoon, and plot their first defeat in 12 home games. They came together after Ravindra Jadeja pulled off an outfield catch for the ages to remove Kieron Pollard, West Indies' most dangerous batsman on paper. Sammy and Russell proceeded to test that assumption with an unbroken partnership of delightful ferocity that yielded 79, propelling West Indies to 260. The bowlers, led by the irrepressible Ravi Rampaul, then sliced through India's top order and set up West Indies' first win on tour.
Two things have been constant in this series - Rohit Sharma's pristine form, and the game-changing capabilities of the last wicket pair. Under lights, West Indies did enough to overcome both and finish on top. Rohit stroked a pleasing 95 as India crumbled around him, but ran himself out in a desperate effort to manipulate the strike to be the ninth man dismissed. Abhimanyu Mithun and Umesh Yadav then lashed 28 for the final wicket to keep West Indies on edge, before Rampaul yorked Mithun to close the game.
Barring Rohit's stunner, which puts him firmly in the frame for a Test debut in Australia, almost nothing went India's way. Yadav and Vinay Kumar impressed with the new balls before being pounded at the death. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir bagged first-ball ducks to extend their worrying runs of poor form, with Australia looming. To make matters worse, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina perished to umpiring errors that could have been reversed if the DRS had been in place.
It was a stunning turnaround for India, who could scarcely put a foot wrong earlier after winning the toss. Seam and swing weren't supposed to be part of the agenda on a sweltering afternoon, but Vinay produced away seamers, Yadav pace and swing, and Mithun a raft of indippers. India's spinners backed them up well to ensure they kept winning the big moments. The half-centurion Marlon Samuels exited just as he was primed for assault. The man most likely to assist him, Darren Bravo, was forced to retire hurt with a hamstring strain. And then Pollard was caught spectacularly to leave the innings faltering. The Sammy-Russell show was only getting started, though.
West Indies' cause was aided by India's inexperience, as Yadav and Mithun delivered despicable lengths in the slog. Sammy wound up for the fun by redirecting Vinay for two fours, before Russell carted Yadav for a monster six. Next, Sammy turned his attention towards Mithun, scything a wide ball, and hammering a length delivery for fours. He then unfurled two sixes dripping with typical Caribbean audacity on either side of the wicket - a slash over cover and a merry whiplash over midwicket. Russell then went ballistic in Yadav's last over, drilling a near yorker down the ground and fore-handing a length ball for fours, before teeing off towards the press box.
India seemed hung-over from the onslaught when they began their chase. Sehwag was yet to make a significant score since the World Cup, but still chased a short and wide first delivery from Rampaul without moving his feet. Gambhir followed immediately, shouldering arms after misreading an inswinger that straightened to catch him plumb on the crease. Parthiv Patel and Kohli responded with a slew of boundaries, but West Indies' spinners, and a couple of umpiring errors were about to derail India.
Kohli was struck in front as he looked to work the debutant offspinner Sunil Narine to leg, but the ball was sliding further down the leg side. The umpire Sudhir Asnani was convinced, though, and Kohli left the pitch spewing a litany of invective in his wake. Samuels then slipped a ripping offspinner past Parthiv's forward prod to disturb his stumps. Suresh Raina exited soon after, when umpire Tony Hill wrongly ruled him caught behind as he hopped across to glance Rampaul. India were tottering at 105 for 6 when Jadeja was run out, but Rohit carried on with a sense of remarkable calm.
He opened his account with a stunning inside-out lofted drive for six, and his shot-making through the covers and down the ground remained sublime all evening. But his rotation of strike, with an uncertain tail to shepherd, was equally exemplary. R Ashwin bottled up one end, West Indies backed away to allow the singles, and a 91-run stand was raised just like that. Sammy dropped both batsmen to aid India's progress, and West Indies were sweating by the time the batting Powerplay came on. Rohit plundered boundaries at will, and India were back in the chase, but it was time for another twist.
Narine, who displayed an ice-cool temperament for a debutant in front of a raucous crowd, gave Ashwin a taste of his own carrom ball to end the partnership, with India 65 runs away. Rohit stretched his luck decisively in the 44th over after pushing the ball to mid-on, and Sammy blasted the stumps out with a laser-sharp throw. The captain celebrated like a man relieved to finally pull a win back. Mithun slugged a couple of monster sixes to keep West Indies waiting, but they weren't enough to extend India's streak.
Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo