India stay on the winning track over West Indies

Spinners and the Rohit-Kohli combination clicks again for the hosts as they beat West Indies in first ODI at Kochi.

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A sluggish pitch and a different format provided no relief for West Indies as India powered home to a comprehensive six-wicket victory over the visitors in the first one-day international at Kochi.

After the debacle of losing two Tests inside three days amid the euphoria surrounding Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement, West Indies had more woe in store when their key batsman, the destructive Chris Gayle, went out of the equation for the full series with the second ball of the match.

Gayle was run out as he landed awkwardly. It was revealed later that he had torn his hamstring and was ruled out of the series. The India spinners duly applied the squeeze on a turning track with uneven bounce as West Indies could only muster 211 runs.

India also lost an early wicket in reply, but the pair of opener Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli once again dished out another of their in-form partnerships to tame even the cracking surface and guide India home with plenty of overs to spare.

“We were making an effort to play with a straight bat,” Kohli said after he was adjudged man of the match for his knock of 86.

Kohli also became the fastest to reach the 5,000 runs mark in 120 matches, although Sir Vivian Richards of West Indies also took the same number of innings, 114, in 126 matches to cross the milestone. However, Kohli denied he was a man in a hurry. “I just watch the ball and react. Some balls were keeping very low today. I got some quick runs and that took the pressure off Rohit as well. We enjoy batting as a pair,” he said.

Kohli played the danger man Sunil Narine with ease and the West Indian spinner struggled to create an impression on a track that should have suited him.

His captain, MS Dhoni, also complimented the bowlers for setting up what he called a “fantastic performance”.

“It could have been ever better if one of our batsmen would have got a hundred,” Dhoni said. “There was some variable bounce that assisted our fast bowlers and they found them quickly.

“Overall, our spinners did the job for us. It wasn’t easy for the opposition to turn the strike over.”

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