Last pair deny Windies in thriller

Cuttack, India -- A patient 72 from Rohit Sharma helped India to a tense one-wicket victory over West Indies in a low-scoring first One-Day International at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack on Tuesday night.

India’s last wicket pair of Varun Aaron and Umesh Yadav added 12 runs to take India past their target with seven balls to spare.

Man-of-the-Match Sharma struck three boundaries and a six to launch India’s fightback after the hosts were reduced to 59-5 chasing a 212-run target for victory.

He added 83 for the sixth wicket with left-hander Ravindra Jadeja (38) and another 42 runs for the eighth wicket with tailender R Vinay Kumar (18) to anchor India’s chase.

Sharma and Kumar fell in successive overs with the score on 201 and India still needed 11 runs to win with just one wicket in hand. The hosts survived some tense moments before Yadav hit a boundary to take his team home in front a vocal crowd of over 45,000.

“It’s good to win another nail-biter. Whatever you tell Number 10 or Number 11, they always do what they want to do. I just told them to play till the end,” said India skipper Virender Sehwag.

“Rohit and Jadeja batted really well in that partnership and we should have won it easily from there, but it’s still good to end up winning. We hope to learn from our batting mistakes in coming games.”

West Indies pacers Kemar Roach (3-46) and Andre Russell (2-29) extracted good pace and bounce off the pitch and picked up the first five wickets to fall within the 12th over of the Indian innings.

Roach removed Parthiv Patel, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli in his sharp opening spell before Russell accounted for Sehwag (20) and Suresh Raina to put pressure on India.

“Every time you lose it is quite disappointing. We just didn't have the last spark to take us past the finish line,” said West Indies captain Sammy. “The opening bowlers did well to give us a start and we fought all the way to the end, but it wasn't enough. We even conceded 23 extras, but I would like to commend the boys.”

Earlier, India's pace trio of Kumar, Yadav and Aaron struck three times in the first 10 overs to reduce the tourists to 52 for three, from which they never recovered. The visitors finished on 211-9 in their 50 overs, after put in to bat first.

Darren Bravo (60), the most consistent batsman for West Indies during the 2-0 Test Series loss, continued his good form and added 75 for the fourth wicket with Danza Hyatt (31).

Hyatt’s run out, just after he started scoring freely, and Bravo’s dismissal to part-time off-spinner Suresh Raina robbed West Indies of any momentums.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin conceded only 30 runs off his 10 overs for the wicket of the hard-hitting Kieron Pollard, caught on the long-on boundary.

Tue, 11/29/2011 - 11:23