'Luck, momentum on India's side' - Bravo
Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies captain, said luck did not favour his side during the first ODI against India, but refused to blame the slow and uneven Kochi pitch for his side's heavy defeat. Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo, two of the visitors' top batsmen, were dismissed by deliveries that stayed alarmingly low. West Indies were 77 for 2 and 183 for 5 before they lost those batsmen, and managed only 211, which India hunted down in 35.2 overs.
"Can't blame the wicket. Both teams play on it. Nothing changes," Bravo said. "Unfortunately we end up [with] luck not going our way. India are playing good cricket at the moment and the luck and momentum is on their side. We have to dig deeper and work harder as a team and hopefully those things can change. Marlon Samuels got a ball that kept very low, so did my brother. Two of our better players got starts and were unable to carry one because of deliveries that kept very low. In the Indian innings some balls kept low as well but they were not on the wickets.
"We were 40 runs short. We had a good start even after we lost Chris Gayle early. Johnson Charles and Samuels put up a good partnership. We set a target of 280-285 but could manage only 211. We were on our target but we kept losing wickets. During the first 15 overs of both innings, we were on target. It is difficult for tailenders to bat during the last seven-eight overs in an ODI."
West Indies were dealt an early blow after their star batsman Gayle was run out for a duck and suffered a hamstring tear on his left leg. Gayle is likely to miss the remaining two ODIs and the start of the New Zealand tour immediately after this series. "Losing Chris is always a big blow for us," Bravo said. "He is our best player. Psychologically, having Gayle at the top is good for us, so losing Gayle at this time and not having [Kieron] Pollard - two of our best players - it is hard for us to fill those two places. It leaves the door open for two guys to come in and get an opportunity against the No. 1 team, the world champions, to make a name for themselves."
Bravo felt his bowlers were lacking in control, although he commended them for their efforts in trying to defend 211. "The Indian bowlers executed their plans very well. They realised that the straighter they bowl it is harder to score. We did not maintain that discipline long enough as a bowling group. Therefore we end up on the losing side. Two hundred and eleven is not enough runs batting first on a small outfield. Yes, a couple of balls kept low but I still think we can do a lot better.
"I think our bowlers gave their heart out. Both [Ravi] Rampaul and [Jason] Holder bowled very well and gave their 100 per cent in their second spell. Fielding was good at times. [Sunil] Narine played his apart again. As a captain, [I am] pleased with the effort by the bowling group."
West Indies' hopes of making the chase difficult for India were dashed by Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, who put on 133 for the second wicket. Bravo said it was hard to stop such quality players when they were in top form.
"When you look at the Australian series, the Tests and even today, they are at the top of their game. They played very well today and everything is going in their way. [It is] always difficult to bowl to batsmen in such form with that quality. They are world-class players. They are playing at home and know the conditions better than us. Difference between both teams is that when their batsmen get starts they carry on and put their team in a winning position. That is something we have to learn. Chasing 211, once two of your top batters get fifties, the game is over."