West Indies v India, 1st ODI, Trinidad June 6, 2011

Rohit helps India prevail in battle of attrition


India 217 for 6 (Rohit 68*, Dhawan 51) beat West Indies 214 for 9 (Sarwan 56, Samuels 55, Harbhajan 3-32) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
How they were out

In a contest of ordinary batting line-ups, India had the extra bit of quality to successfully chase an under-par West Indies total. West Indies seemed to lack enterprise and skill to handle India's bowling, but their bowlers and fielders were spirited in the defence, dragging India down. The top order faltered after a quick start, but Rohit Sharma and captain Suresh Raina steadied India from 104 for 4.

It was a slow and low track all right, fast becoming the norm in the West Indies now, but wasn't treacherous enough to justify either West Indies' total or the struggle India went through before getting there. The only batsmen that seemed at ease were Marlon Samuels, Raina and eventually Rohit. Samuels' half-century injected some life in West Indies' limp innings after early wickets and an extra-cautious Ramnaresh Sarwan had left them crawling to 74 for 3 in 25 overs.

Raina did much the same for India with a busy effort, but it was Rohit who was the most interesting study. There were two Rohits on display. The first came out, saw Devendra Bishoo spin one across him, and started slogging at everything. That Rohit refused to work hard, and looked to slog his way out. That Rohit batted alongside Shikhar Dhawan, who scored his maiden half-century in unconvincing manner and looked liked he could get out any moment.

West Indies' brightest phase came when legspinners Bishoo and Anthony Martin kept a tight leash on the scoring, with Darren Sammy and the alert fielders providing the support cast. For 13.2 overs India didn't get a single boundary. The edginess was apparent. S Badrinath played 11 straight dots before edging Bishoo to make it 61 for 3. Rohit's ways rubbed off on Dhawan, who started trying to hit every ball for four, finding either an edge or a fielder. His wicket, through a slog sweep that gave Martin his maiden wicket, was a freight train coming.

Rohit, though, was over the self-destructive period by then. And also a critical moment in the 24th over when a close lbw shout was ruled in his favour. He played Bishoo for the turn, and the straighter one kissed his back pad before hitting the bat. And it was right in front. The umpire couldn't really be faulted for not being completely sure it had hit the pad first, but West Indies could claim that the DRS would have got them their man.

Those early hiccups negotiated, the other Rohit was the one batting in a sweat-drenched shirt, running hard, looking to convert ones into twos, scoring his first 30 runs without a boundary. Raina came in and nudged a couple of boundaries to calm things further. Rohit's first boundary was a treat: an inside-out chip for six off Sammy. He added 80 in 14.3 overs with Raina without looking hurried at all. Raina perished looking to finish the game in the batting Powerplay, and a physically struggling Rohit would have had to dig much deeper had Martin held on to a simple return catch from Yusuf Pathan at 189 for 5.

Another half-centurion in the match, Sarwan, got off to a much better start than Rohit did, but played himself into a shell, during the other critical passage of play in the game. West Indies had got off to a start similar to India's, losing two wickets after a quickish opening, but Sarwan's 63-ball stand with Kirk Edwards featured 38 dots. Praveen Kumar, Amit Mishra and Harbhajan Singh - who went for 108 in their 30 overs for five wickets - bowled well, but not least because the batsmen allowed them to. Neither of the two batsmen looked to drop and run a quick single, nor was a single fielder put under pressure. Harbhajan reaped the rewards as Edwards top-edged a straighter one.

Samuels, though, brought in the urgency, attacking Yusuf, becoming the first batsman to have a strike-rate of over 50. After a spell of 12 overs for 56, at 130 for 3, they asked for the Batting Powerplay. Forty-three came off the five-over block, but West Indies also lost Sarwan to a tickle down the leg side. The real blows came after the Powerplay as Raina snuck a short delivery through Samuels' legs, and Harbhajan did Bravo in with a doosra that dipped and kicked. The rest could add only 23 to the 191 for 6 in the 45th over, providing India with a seemingly easy chase. As it turned out, it took a dehydrated, cramping-up, and a slightly fortunate Rohit to pull it off.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BULTY on June 8, 2011, 6:36 GMT

    It is a given norm that any team, especially a touring team, would not want to start the series on a losing note and that too when they had the opposition make only a modest below par score of 214 to chase. So the Indians took time to study the behaviour of the pitch and also get acclimatised to the conditions. Hence the whole match seemed boring & laboured for the viewers. The writer obviously missed these points. But with the progress of the series and with a few changes in the team, the Indians will be back to their best. All the best for team India. As rightly pointed out here by some writers, these players who are going to replace the seniors when they eventually decide to retire & hang their boots. Yousuf Pathan was c&b by Ravi Rampaul and not otherwise as a writer sought to correct. Please go through the scorecard thoroughly.

  • Finn92 on June 7, 2011, 23:42 GMT

    Neither side was very good but India have the experience of Bhajji and Raina to thank for this win, the rest are still obviously developing as international players. The West Indies will not win anything unless they start making pitches that offer no spin whatsoever as they cannot play it at all!

  • Leggie on June 7, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    Mirchy, GV, Gandhi, Celestine and others who think Sidharth Mongia is being critical of this Indian win...... What Sidharth says in the heading is indeed absolutely true and is a true reflection of the match - though statistically it appears otherwise. A win is a win, and India must be certainly proud of it. It will however be incorrect to say that this was a game where Indians were on top of "their game". I've listed out a few points that Sidharth Mongia missed. Read them at your leisure ;-)

  • dummy4fb on June 7, 2011, 15:10 GMT

    the struggle made the match much interesting to watch... Its quite strange that on a pitch where sarvan had to starve for runs (he gulped in balls like a hungry fat boy), raina and samuels were at comparative ease. especially raina looked much confident. but going by the first ODI, it seems the series could be an even-steven contest unless india pull up their socks..!!

  • SBMURALI on June 7, 2011, 15:04 GMT

    Indian players showed their inexperience through out the match... fielding was not excellent... last couple of wickets were last carelessly. yeah that was not a great batting line up we know that.... they struggled to chase an easier target.. congrats to young India.... and the wicket was not like a carebeian wicket..... i expect a pitch with more bounce rather big turn from the pitch... come on we dont need any more sub continent wickets in up coming matches.....

  • pramatha on June 7, 2011, 14:49 GMT

    Shanx24, it is only when the surname is clearly not a surname (as in the "Dev" in Kapil Dev) that in my 40 years of following cricket have I seen a cricketer habitually referred to by his personal name for the entire length of an article. South Indian cricketers of course were identified by the their personal names ("Chandra" or "Srikanth"). Or else the person had to be famous. (Even Sunny G never got to be called Sunny throughout an article--in fact never, except in headlines). Rohit Sharma hardly holds the affection of the people. He is hardly Rohit yet.

    There have been plenty of instances where the team has had more than one person with the same surname. I can't remember headlines saying "Graeme hits 274" or "Peter destroys in England". Would be "Pollock hits 274" and "Pollock destroys England". Ditto in the days of the Chappells. Anyway Monga is in general a bad writer.

  • Divinetouch on June 7, 2011, 13:58 GMT

    The writer of this article and I were looking at two different gammes for him to describe it as a laboured win for BharatMa.

  • CandidIndian on June 7, 2011, 13:47 GMT

    I never expected that Rohit Sharma and Dhawan will play a major role in India's victory.Its really a pleasant surprise.When Badri was out i thought the chase will be difficult and there will be lot of pressure on Raina but Rohit finally did some justice to his talent .Having said that approach of WI batsman towards spinners was pathetic to say the least, there was no urgency or will to steal a run.Its very surprising that WI is providing slow pitches which are helping spinners ,also WI batsman have poor technique against spin.

  • dummy4fb on June 7, 2011, 13:35 GMT

    yousuf was caught by rampaul and not martin!! get u r facts straight cricinfo..

  • Nampally on June 7, 2011, 13:32 GMT

    It is disheartening to see Ashwin being consistently dropped from the XI.He is better off spinner than Harbhajan. It was just a matter of luck that Raina picked up a couple of wickets.But Raina is a part time bowler who cannot do the same against good class batting like say Chris Gayle.Amit Mishra did not do as well as Bishoo on a spin freindly track.Will Ashwin be warming the bench like he did in South Africa and in the World cup? It is true that part time off spinners in Pathan, Raina means too many off spinners of the same type. Then why was Ashwin in the squad instead of say Ojha or even Jadeja? Rahul Sharma is better suited as an economical leg spinner instead of Mishra or Chawla. So the Selectors have a lot to answer for. Similarly omission of Mukund as an opener was poor. Dhawan played well but he seems to be at sea against spinners. Thankfully this Indian squad is only experimental but even so the Selectors did not pick the right guys for the job at hand.

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