The spirit remained willing but the batting basics, the tactics, the bowling lines and, for the first time on tour, the catching were weak as West Indies went down by six wickets to India with as many as 14 overs remaining in their opening match of the triangular Indian Oil Cup tournament.
Several wickets were senselessly surrendered, none more so that the suicidal run out of Sylvester Joseph at the start of the innings, as West Indies were dismissed for 178 with 2.2 overs still available. With six of the first eight batsmen with the combined count of 46 ODIs, Shivnarine Chanderpaul once more wasted his superior experience of 175 such matches by slotting himself at No.5. After he scratched around for 22 off 53 balls and he and the only other 100-match man, Ricardo Powell, fell in successive overs at 85 for 5, it was left to the last half of the order to raise 93 more and a scrap of hope.
Jermaine Lawson, Daren Powell and Tino Best responded under the lights with the same pace and aggression that so frequently undermined Sri Lanka's top order in the preceding Tests. This time, they did not get the same impeccable service from their catchers who missed four offerings while their fervour led to 18 wides that would have passed umpires in the longer game but are crippling extra runs and balls in the limited-overs variety. Lawson chalked up seven in his first six overs, 10 by the time he was through. Powell had six, Best two and Dwayne Smith one from his 10 overs of steady medium pace.
It was indiscipline compounded by the fielding errors. Only one catch went to ground in the Tests. Now three escaped the clutches of those considered the safest hands in the team - Powell, Ramdin, the wicket-keeper, and Dwayne Smith.
Powell's was the first in the second over. The teenaged left-hander Suresh Raina, out for zero on debut against Sri Lanka the night before, slapped Lawson into and out of his grasp chest high at cover-point two balls after Ramdin had repeated his several stunning leg-side dismissals in the Tests to remove the dangerous Virender Sewag.
It would have left India 3 for 2 and brought in Rahul Dravid, the most dependable batsman in world cricket, to face the zealous West Indies pace earlier than he planned. Instead, they had to wait until Best struck in his opening over, with Joseph's brilliant two-handed take at second slip that accounted for Mohammed Kaif, to get at Dravid.
There was an immediate chance to dismiss him but Smith's throw from midwicket, as the Indian captain scrambled his first run, missed the bowler's stumps by inches.
Not surprisingly, Dravid, as he did in the opening match against Sri Lanka on Saturday, steadied the innings with his usual calm authority, steering India to their goal with 53 from 65 balls. Seven boundaries in all directions were his most productive shots, three off successive balls in Best's fourth over that spoiled a lively testing opening spell.
Powell's error and Ramdin's first miss of the tour, low to his left off Best when Raina was 28, allowed him to carry on to 35 before he spanked a short ball from Smith to cover in the 15th over.
The West Indies had a sniff of a break but it was too long in coming. Dravid and Yuvraj Singh carried India to within touching distance of their goal at 143 for 4 in the 32nd over and it took Lawson's return to end their stand of 61,Yuvraj bowled as he missed a drive.
Right away, Smith put down Dhoni low at square leg before he had scored, off Lawson who trudged to long leg at the end of the over. There he moved too late to Dhoni's miscued hook off Best and another chance bit the dust. They would not have altered the outcome but they would have made it closer.
Batting first in bright daylight, the West Indies innings was immediately set back as Runako Morton, sacrificed as opener, was lbw to Irfan Pathan's inswing and Joseph followed to a run out that would have merited a lengthy detention for a primary school batsman for both him and partner Xavier Marshall.
He turned Zaheer Khan behind square and they crossed for what would have been an easy single. But Marshall touched down several inches short of his ground turning for the non-existent second, Joseph came charging through and was unsurprisingly run out by a yard or two by Raina's throw to the keeper.
Marshall stroked five crisp boundaries off the left-arm pace of Pathan and Zaheer but lasted only three balls against Harbhajan Singh, undone by a slip catch off the first doosra he received. Narsingh Deonarine, who preceded his captain, and Chanderpaul were at such pains to repair the damage of 32 for 3 that they spent 17 overs adding 52.
The tactics backfired when Chanderpaul got himself into a tangle over a sweep shot against Raina's occasional off-spin and was lbw and Powell's slack forward stroke missed Sewag's similarly uncomplicated offspin at the other end. Smith shook things up with a four off his first ball and a six each off Sewag and Raina but he had no answer to the second ball he got from Harbhajan, the dreaded doosra.
The most positive batting of the innings followed. Deonarine played calmly and certainly before he was lbw to Sehwag, aiming across the line, and Ramdin and Best batted with such panache that their contributions were spoiled by the needless swipes that brought their downfall and meant the West Indies were 14 balls short of their allocated 50 overs.
Already vastly inferior in experience to their two opponents in the tournament, West Indies can't expect to properly compete by giving away wickets and wides and missing catches and run-outs.