After an impressive batting show, it was the West Indies bowlers who had given away the game in Hyderabad, resulting in India successfully completing their highest ever run chase. Skipper Kieron Pollard had accepted their bowling frailties saying, "discipline in bowling and execution let us down" in the opener. The attack had conceded 23 extras of which 14 were wide deliveries.
The story remained same on Sunday night at Thiruvananthapuram, albeit for the other team. It was the Windies attack that outshone the Indian bowling attack at the end of the match. The travellers did not just counter the dew factor immensely, they also tackled the slowness of the pitch with astute cleverness.
The slowness of the pitch was comprehensible after the ordinary first over from Sheldon Cottrell who conceded six runs off wides. Spinner Kharry Pierre and Cottrell then built pressure from either end which resulted in a slog from KL Rahul and India lost their first wicket.
At one change, Jason Holder was brought in and he placed most of his deliveries between short and back-of-the-length in his first over, but retracted to fuller lengths in his comeback over (eighth) which resulted in the dismissal of Rohit Sharma. The opener never looked comfortable on the sluggish pitch and was undone by the fuller ball onto the stumps as he missed his paddle.
West Indies also brought in a funky, but a rather risky tactic wherein skipper Pollard introduced himself into the attack in the seventh over. He looked confident with his cutters in his first over but was smashed for three sixes by Shivam Dube in the second over, who by then looked more settled on the slowish track. The three maximums helped him notch up his maiden international fifty in the next over. India were by then 93 for two in 10 overs, a rather confident position to be at after the two quick dismissals.
Shortly after, Hayden Walsh was introduced and he made an immediate impact by dismissing Dube. Kesrick Williams meanwhile had his notebook celebration ready for Kohli. Noticing that the Indian captain had already shimmied down the track, Williams ran his fingers on the ball and delivered a slowish outside-off delivery and had him caught at short third man. However, this time it was 'finger on your lips' celebration from Williams after getting the big fish.
India then rested their hope on Rishabh Pant who managed 33 off 22 on the slowish pitch, but Windies targeted the other end. Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja and Washington Sundar all fell against the change in pace and cutters which were extensively used by the West Indies pacers. India managed to add only 20 more runs at the loss of two more wickets.
By the start of the second innings in Thiruvananthapuram, the ball looked to come nicely onto the bat making the track conducive for batting. Bhuvneshwar Kumar brought in his knuckleball variation in the absence of any movement off the pitch and even generated two dismissal opportunity - Sundar dropped one, Pant dropped the tougher one. That was the fourth over of the match.
In the next 14 overs until their victory, Windies managed at least one boundary barring one where Sundar had dismissed Evin Lewis in the 10th over. The dismissal saw an end of West Indies' 73-run opening stand - their highest in the 11 matches they played in 2019.
Jadeja and Yuxvendra Chahal too remained ineffective on the surface that had turned skiddy midway through the innings. Lendl Simmons hit Chahal for a four down backward point and then for a six over mid-wicket in the very next ball off a leg-break and then another maximum later in the innings over the cover region. And Jadeja was torn apart by Shimron Hetmyer who smashed three sixes against him, two of which came off consecutive deliveries right before his dismissal.
By the time India resolved back to pace attack, West Indies required 44 more off the last 30 deliveries. Nicholas Pooran hit four boundaries including a six against Bhuvneshwar in the two overs he bowled and thereby settled the chase.
It was indeed a bad day for the Indian attack who tried every possible measure in their repertoire, but was undone by the dew factor.