India beat WI by four wickets in 1st ODI

Port of Spain (Trinidad): Rohit Sharma`s unbeaten 68 helped world champions India overcome a shaky start to notch up a facile four-wicket win over the West Indies in the first one-dayer of a five-match series here.

Chasing a modest 215 runs, Rohit anchored the Indian innings and, together with captain Suresh Raina (43), raised 80 runs for the fifth wicket to guide India home in 44.5 overs after the visitors lost their first three wickets for just 61 runs at the Queen`s Park Oval yesterday.

Rohit`s unbeaten knock came off 75 balls during which he struck three fours and a six while Raina scored his 43 from 50 deliveries with the help of four boundaries.

At the top, opener Shikhar Dhawan (51 off 76) notched up his maiden half-century and guided the chase initially to help India`s cause.

Leg-spinner Anthony Martin (2/39) was the best bowler in action for the home team while pacer Ravi Rampaul also snared two wickets but gave away 58 runs in the process.

Earlier, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Marlon Samuels scored hard-earned half centuries as West Indies struggled to a modest 214 for nine.

Opting to bat, West Indies made a wobbly start to their innings as they lost their first three wickets scoring just 59 runs in 18.2 overs.

But Sarwan and Samuels paired up to resurrect the innings with an 82-run fourth-wicket partnership that came off 118 balls.

While Sarwan`s 56 came off 94 balls and was studded with only five boundaries, Samuels took 75 deliveries to score his 55. He hit three fours and two sixes.

The stand between Sarwan and Samuels was the only highlight of the West Indies innings as the hosts scored 73 runs in the last 12 overs losing as many as six wickets.

Down the order, Dwayne Bravo tried his bit to up the scoring rate with a 20-ball 22 while opener Kirk Edwards (21 off 45) was the next best scorer for the Caribbean side.

For India, off-spinner Harbhajan Singh made merry at the low and slow Queen`s Park Oval pitch with figures of three wickets for 32, while Praveen Kumar (2/37), Munaf Patel (2/47) and captain Suresh Raina (2/23) shared six wickets among them.

Coming in to bat, the Indians found it difficult to bat with fluency on a sluggish Queeen`s Park Oval wicket and against the niggardly line of West Indian bowlers, especially the leg-spinning duo of Martin and Devendra Bishoo. The two bowlers conceded only 76 runs from their 20 overs and picked up three wickets between them.

West Indies skipper Darren Sammy was an excellent foil to his spinners and it was only the depth of India`s middle order which gave them a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

Openers Parthiv Patel (13) and Dhawan (51) had smoothly moved to 29 runs by the sixth over when a smart throw from Dwayne Bravo at mid-on found the former short of his crease at the batsman`s end.

Virat Kohli (2) aimed a lordly drive at an away going delivery from Ravi Rampaul and nicked a straightforward catch to Carlton Baugh behind the stumps as India slumped to 34 for two.