Rohit Sharma fails to see India to win


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The Independent Online

Rohit Sharma hit 95 but it was not enough to prevent India suffering their first defeat in 12 one-day internationals on home soil as West Indies kept the five-match series alive with a 16-run victory in Ahmedabad.

Sharma was the shining light in an India innings which faltered early with both Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir bagging first-ball ducks to leave the hosts rocking on eight for two.

The double breakthrough enabled the Windies to stay on the front foot after they finished their innings with a stunning partnership between Andre Russell and Darren Sammy which saw them put on 93 in the final seven overs.

Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina failed to make much of an impression before departing to incorrect umpiring decisions - India's reticence to use the Decision Review System counting against them - with Ravichandran Ashwin's 64-ball 31 proving too little too late.

Windies paceman Ravi Rampaul got the tourists off to a flyer, snaring Sehwag as the batsman top-edged to Denesh Ramdin and then next ball trapped Gambhir leg before wicket.

Kohli saw off the hat-trick ball before putting on 35 with opener Parthiv Patel. He eventually departed in controversial circumstances, adjudged out lbw to debutant off-spinner Sunil Narine although the ball appeared to be drifting down the leg side.

The batsman was clearly livid at the decision and was seen shouting at the umpire as he departed.

Parthiv looked in good nick in front of his home crowd and seemed well set for a big score only to lose his wicket when Marlon Samuels got one to turn viciously on its way to clipping the top of off stump.

Raina's dismissal shortly after left India reeling on 84 for five and it was another decision to annoy the large home crowd,

Rampaul's leg-side delivery clipped the batsman on the pad on its way through to Ramdin but umpire Tony Hill inexplicably raised the finger. Raina also took his time to leave the crease, making it clear he felt he had been wronged.

Ravindra Jadeja, Ashwin and Vinay Kumar failed to provide any substantial support to Sharma, who continued to score at a near run-a-ball.

But his dismissal just five short of his century - run out via a wonderful throw from Sammy as he chased an unlikely single - effectively settled the contest as the hosts eventually ran out of wickets to finish on 244 all out.

Earlier, the Windies were drifting towards a below-par total before Russell and captain Sammy raised the tempo with some lusty hitting which guided the tourists to 260 for five from their 50 overs.

Russell hit 40 not out off just 18 balls while Sammy required one ball fewer to make an unbeaten 41. Between them they hit nine fours and four sixes.

Every West Indian batsman got in, with the exception of opener Lendl Simmons, who perished for one after edging a Vinay Kumar delivery to wicketkeeper Parthiv.

Danza Hyatt and Samuels stabilised the innings although it took them a further 10.3 overs to advance the score on to 42 before the former clipped a leg-side ball from Abhimanyu Mithun to Parthiv for 20.

Samuels was joined by rising star Darren Bravo and the pair were starting to build a decent partnership when Bravo had to retire hurt on 26 after succumbing to a hamstring injury.

Samuels then departed, bowled by Ashwin, for 58.

The pace remained pedestrian although Kieron Pollard tried to raise the tempo with a typically brisk 29, which was only curtailed thanks to a magnificent boundary catch by Jadeja.

Ramdin contributed 38 before the late fireworks gave the Windies bowlers something to defend, which they did successfully.

India lead the series 2-1 with two games to play.