Kochi: When they party, they go wild. When they play well, they are unstoppable. The West Indies way of life is always extreme and fascinating in equal measure and world champions India had a bitter taste of it in the ODI series opener here on Wednesday. Marlon Samuels scored a masterful 126 as the Caribbeans went on full throttle tearing apart an overconfident India by 124 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium renowned for hosting massive hostile crowd.
The West Indies had left their lingering issues like the one related to a fair pay structure in the locker room and turned their focus on the game at hand. India was bowled out for 197 runs. The conspiring factor against India other than a plan well executed by the visitors was the slowness of the wicket. Dhoni had erred in judging two things — firstly picking just two specialist spinners and most crucially failing to understand the character of the wicket.
It was the latter that turned detrimental and for once the toss wasn’t to be blamed upon. Dhoni anticipated dew in the second innings when he chose to field first but instead there was a slow wicket that was perfectly misread by the Indian batsmen. Ajinkya Rahane looked sharp showing glimpses of his English form with controlled pull shots and delicate glances.
It was a pity he was run out after a mix up with Shikhar Dhawan while attempting a non-existent double. Jerome Taylor had returned to the side after a five-year absence with a spate of injuries and was unsettled to start with but gave assurance to his talents by pushing Virat Kohli onto the backfoot leaving India at 55 for 2 a situation never warranting the panic button.
Once Suresh Raina was convinced it not one of those heroic Champions League T20 nights for him after a second duck at the venue Dhawan seemed to take responsibility. But he took the unconventional approach yet again, trying to slog-sweep Samuels and lost his off-stump after a 68 off 92.
Earlier, the islanders offered something remarkable their best batting performance against India in recent memory and that was no mere achievement considering their apparent shortcomings against spin bowling.
West Indies: D. Smith b Jadeja 46, Dwayne Bravo c Dhawan b Shami 17, Darren Bravo c Dhawan b Mishra 28, M. Samuels (not out) 126, D. Ramdin c Jadeja b Shami 61, K. Pollard b Shami 2, A. Russell c Kohli b Shami 1, D. Sammy (not out) 10. Extras (b7, lb5, w17, nb1) 30. Total (for six wickets in 50 overs) 321.
FoW: 1-34, 2-98, 3-120, 4-285, 5-296, 6-298.
Bowling: Kumar 10-1-38-0, Mohit 9-0-61-0, Shami 9-1-66-4, Jadeja 10-0-58-1, Mishra 10-0-72-1, Raina 2-0-14-0.
India: A. Rahane (run out) 24, S. Dhawan b Samuels 68, V. Kohli c Sammy b Taylor 2, A. Rayudu c Benn b Russell 13, S. Raina b Bravo 0, M.S. Dhoni b Sammy 8, R. Jadeja (not out) 33, B. Kumar c Sammy b Samuels 2, A. Mishra lbw b Bravo 5, Mohit Sharma c Taylor b Rampaul 8, M. Shami b Rampaul 19. Extras (lb1, w14) 15. Total (all out in 41 overs) 197.
FoW: 1-49, 2-55, 3-82, 4-83, 5-114, 6-134, 7-138, 8-146, 9-155.
Bowling: Rampaul 8-0-48-2, Taylor 10-1-50-1, Bravo 6-0-28-2, Russell 4-0-21-1, Benn 5-0-16-0, Sammy 5-0-23-1, Samuels 3-0-10-2.