West Indies managed to level the ODI series against India by winning the third of five ODIs in Pune by 43 runs.
Having been put to bat in this third India-West Indies game, West Indies collapsed to 227/8 at one stage despite a Shai Hope 95 but some lower-order fireworks from man-of-the-match Ashley Nurse pushed them up to 283 from their 50 overs.
In reply, captain Virat Kohli scored his third century in a row in the series but the rest of the batsmen failed to stand up to the pressure exerted by Nurse and co. India folded at 240 all out, with Marlon Samuels coming in to bowl in the final 10 overs for the first time and picking up three wickets in 3.4 overs including that of Kohli.
India’s issues have been multi-fold but the interesting bit is Kohli’s batting has often hidden from plain view. For a change, however, when Kohli’s century has barely got any support this is how it turns out for India.
Why the team will think through their tactics yet again is that the selectors had recalled Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar for this encounter after resting them for the first two and yet, Windies managed to snatch a win.
While Bumrah picked up four wickets, Bhuvneshwar went for 70 from his 10 overs and got just a wicket, while the spinners did not look as effective either.
The other gaping hole for India is the middle-order where MS Dhoni has struggled to get going. Dhoni was dropped from the T20I squad recently but with two failures now in the series, the pressure would be building on him.
In the absence of Hardik Pandya, the balance of the side has been affected, but the good news for India going into the next game is they will have the services of Kedar Jadhav, who might replace Rishabh Pant. Form-wise, Dhoni should be given at least a rest but he has the backing of the management for now and there’s every chance Pant will be benched as a result.
Ravindra Jadeja’s all-round skills will be missed too which, in Kohli’s words, will be changed around – Jadhav and Jadeja will make the XI for the next game. Question is who do they replace?
The bigger question is whether India have really found their best squad for the 2019 World Cup which is now around seven months away.