After suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of West Indies in the first ODI, India has responded well in the second match here in Vizag, with the openers putting on a double-century stand. Rohit Sharma started in his usual cautious manner, before opening his shoulders and coursing to a hundred on a belter of a pitch. KL Rahul, on the other hand, gave India a brisk start, allowing Rohit the time to settle in. This is the first double-century partnership for Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul.
Rohit continued his purple patch in international cricket, notching up his 7th ODI hundred of the year in 107 deliveries. His stay at the crease wasn’t smooth as he played and missed early on, before being dropped on 70 by Shimron Hetmyer. But as the innings progressed, he grew into confidence and came into his own. Vizag has, of late, been a happy hunting ground for Rohit as he hit two centuries here in his first test match as an opener, against South Africa.
Filling in for Shikhar Dhawan, Rahul made his opportunity count, translating his T20I form into the ODIs and scoring a fluent hundred off 102 balls. This is his third hundred in One-Day Internationals. While KL Rahul soon departed after his century, off a delivery of Alzarri Joseph, Rohit Sharma continues to anchor the Indian innings.
Virat Kohli didn’t last long, getting dismissed for a rare duck off Pollard, to the dismay of the Vizag crowd. Rohit Sharma accelerated at a rapid pace, scoring his next fifty off just 25 balls, before getting out to Cottrell for 159. This brought out the successful duo from the last game of Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant to the crease. The two youngsters yet again got together to take the West Indian bowlers to the cleaners. Pant made an explosive 39 off 16 balls while Iyer brought on a fourth-consecutive ODI half-century, pushing India to a gigantic total of 387 at the loss of 5 wickets. This is India’s second-highest total against the Windies. West Indies’ strike bowler, Sheldon Cottrell was particularly off-colour today going at an economy of 9.2.
Even though 387 is a safe score, this pitch in Visakhapatnam is extremely flat and with dew likely to step in, Indians have to be wary of West Indies’ batting firepower. Though India has played the extra seamer, the small boundaries at the ground might play into the Windies’ hands.
Earlier, West Indies had won the toss on a marble-like pitch and put India in to bat. While India strengthened their bowling with Shardul Thakur coming in place of Shivam Dube, West Indies had Evin Lewis return and Khary Pierre make his ODI debut.