West Indies 283 for 9 (Hope 95, Nurse 40, Bumrah 4-35, Kuldeep 2-52) v India
ESPNcricinfo– West Indies followed a familiar pattern in Pune – quite like the first two ODIs – with their top-order failing to pace and their middle-order succumbing to spin before a Shai Hope effort, and then a late surge from tailender Ashley Nurse eventually taking them to a promising total.
Hope’s second consecutive fifty-plus score lifted West Indies to 283, only 12 short of the average first-innings score in Pune. He walked in when opener Chandrapaul Hemraj perished to a scintillating catch by 37-year-old MS Dhoni, who tracked a top-edged pull right over his shoulders while running towards the third-man boundary to complete a sliding dismissal in the sixth over. But quite like the tied Visakhapatnam game, Hope found little support from Kieran Powell and Marlon Samuels as Jasprit Bumrah – the best India bowler on the afternoon with 4 for 35 – and Khaleel Ahmed reduced the visitors to 55 for 3 in the 14th over.
But West Indies momentarily found their way thereafter, when the now-usual saving grace of Shimron Hetmyer and Hope added 56 runs in 45 deliveries for the fourth wicket, but Hetmyer’s failed slog-sweep that resulted in Dhoni’s 114th stumping once again pegged the visitors’ progress after a brief recovery.
It was Kuldeep Yadav who broke the dangerous-looking partnership, bowling teasingly full to Hetmyer and tempting the batsman to slog across the line. The ball pitched and turned away from the left-hander, and by the time he had realised that his bails were dislodged by the keeper, the square-leg umpire Ian Gould was already signalling for the TV umpire. Kuldeep then deceived Rovman Powell four overs later with a dipping delivery that looked fuller than it actually was, and the batsman’s wild slog towards the leg side took a toe-ended edge past Dhoni’s right to Rohit Sharma at first slip, the vice-captain’s second flashy catch in the slip cordon.
Rohit’s first display of composure in the slips came during the eighth over when Jasprit Bumrah, returning to the side after being rested earlier in the series, found the outside edge of Kieran’s bat with a short ball that cramped the batsman uncomfortably. Looking to defend while tiptoeing, the ball moving away was too much for Kieran to deal with, falling for 21 after a positive-looking innings in which he thumped two front-foot pulls into (or over) the leg-side boundary. Before that, Bumrah had troubled Hemraj with short-pitched deliveries originating from a leg-stump line, and had forced the error from the young batsman which eventually resulted in Dhoni’s epic catch in the sixth over.
While Hetmyer batted with Hope during their fourth-wicket stand of 56, there were shades of their 144-run Visakhapatnam partnership that had sent a chill up India’s spine. Hetmyer found his range early, depositing Yuzvendra Chahal for two sixes and Kuldeep for another, but once he fell for 37 – his lowest score of the series so far – India could breathe easy once again.
Hope then took charge of the proceedings, playing the slower bowlers around the ‘V’ for ones and twos, while taking on the inexperienced Khaleel. He punched the left-arm pacer through the covers early in his innings, and as the afternoon progressed, Hope found it easier to find the boundary off the pacers. A strangling spin-bowling spell in the middle overs did slow Hope’s progression towards his seventh ODI half-century, but when Khaleel returned for his third spell in the 33rd over, the West Indies wicketkeeper-batsman crunched a cut to point and raised his bat to soak in the applause.
With Jason Holder at the other end, Hope accelerated towards the back end. He swept Kuldeep into the boundary and heaved Khaleel over midwicket after getting to his fifty, helping West Indies push towards the 200-run mark that looked challenging when they were five-down for 121. Holder, too, found his footing, muscling Kuldeep’s loopy legbreak right over the bowler’s head to long on. But the partnership was ruptured in the 39th over, when Holder chipped Bhuvneshwar Kumar down substitute fielder Ravindra Jadeja’s throat, and that, once again, pegged West Indies’ progress.
Chahal joined the wicket-takers list when debutant Fabian Allen tried to drag a slog against the spin to long-on soon after, following which Bumrah delivered the ball of the afternoon. With Hope at 95, and looking to complete back-to-back centuries, Bumrah bowled a pinpoint yorker that tailed in after originating outside off stump. Hope looked to defend and wedge the ball away, but by the time he got his blade down, his off stump was already flattened.
With the tail-end exposed, Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar tried to run through the final two wickets, but Kemar Roach and Ashley Nurse added 56 runs off 36 deliveries – including three sixes and five fours – to give the visitors a late boost via some long-handle slogs.
Bhuvneshwar finished with 1 for 70, his final over leaking 21 runs. Nurse, in particular, looked menacing, connecting at a strike-rate of 181.81, and by the time he was pinned lbw in the 50th over by Bumrah, West Indies were already past the 280-run mark.