A magnificent victory for Windies in the 3rd ODI on October 27 means that the ongoing five-match series has come alive. They were competitive in the first ODI, came close in the second and now have finally crossed the hurdle in the third attempt. Curiously, they have beaten India in spite of the home team having their first-choice bowling attack and more importantly, Virat Kohli scoring a century.
The losing captain Virat Kohli has conceded that his bowlers let the opposition get away in the last ten overs despite bowling professionally for the major part of the innings.
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"We bowled pretty well. I think the wicket was not offering much in the first 35 overs. Later half it became difficult. From 227 for 8 we should have been chasing 250-260 at the maximum. The bowling effort was professional just that we give it away in the last 10 overs," said Kohli in the post-match presentation ceremony.
India's vulnerable point (middle order) was touched and exposed in Pune. Chasing a stiff target, they lost Rohit Sharma early. Then, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan put together a 79-run stand which was followed by a few more partnerships involving the Indian skipper. Kohli held one end tightly and went on to notch up yet another century. However, the rest of the batting unit failed to give him enough support. Eventually, Marlon Samuels managed to pick the prized scalp of Kohli and the writing was on the wall for the Men in Blue. Still, they managed to drag it for a few overs, although the result was pretty much inevitable.
"It was a pretty gettable total. We did not get the partnerships going, that does not happen too often. In the field we were fine. We didn't execute our plans to perfection. This Windies side is an explosive side and they can beat any team on a given day. They played better cricket and they deserve to win.
"Look when Hardik (Pandya) and Kedar (Jadhav) both play, we get the extra option. When someone like Hardik is not playing, who gives you both bowling and batting option, it is difficult to get the balance. Kedar comes into the side in the next game, that'll give us the balance and depth in the batting. You will always drift to one side when you don't have the balance. We have to think about the perfect balance we need," explained the skipper.
Windies were excellent with their intensity in the field. They felt the pressure initially when Kohli and Dhawan were going strong. But the tourists never lost hope. They managed to pick wickets at regular intervals which kept them very much in the game. It can be considered as a masterstroke by Jason Holder to give the ball to Marlon Samuels who earned them the wicket of the danger man, Virat Kohli. He finished with three wickets while Ashley Nurse, Obed McCoy and Holder bagged two wickets apiece.
On getting three centuries in succession and then getting dismissed by part-timer Samuels Kohli said: "I don't want to talk about my batting. It is a bit embarrassing when people ask you the same thing again and again. I wanted to go after him (Samuels) and just did not execute well. Definitely, we have to take the wins and losses in our stride, was just a bad day at the office. Just shake the loss away. Our plans are in place and we just need to execute better."
With the series locked 1-1, the remaining matches promise to be even more exciting. The 4th ODI is on 29th October at the Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai.