India record 4-1 victory despite Pollard heroics

Chennai: Kieron Pollard`s stunning maiden century went in vain as India beat West Indies by 34 runs to win the fifth and final cricket one day to record an emphatic 4-1 series triumph here today. Electing to bat on a track where the ball was keeping low, India reached respectable 267 for five — courtesy Manoj Tiwary`s (104) first ODI century and a fine 80 by Virat Kohli.

It was Pollard whose magnificent power-hitting helped West Indies reach as close as 233 in 44.1 overs. Pollard hit as many as 10 sixes and four fours in his smashing knock of 119 off 110 deliveries. He was last man out in his bid to clear the long-off boundary where Ajinkya Rahane took a smart catch off Suresh Raina`s bowling. Such was his disappointment that he was finding it difficult to walk out.

While chasing, West Indies were pegged back by comeback man Irfan Pathan and Abhimanyu Mithun who blew away the top four with only 36 on board. After Ravindra Jadeja removed Denesh Ramdin with scoreboard reading 78 for five, T20 specialist Pollard and all-rounder Andre Russell (53, 42 balls, 5×4, 3×6) launched a furious counter-attack adding 89 runs in only 79 deliveries.

Once Russell was run-out by a direct throw from stand-in skipper Gautam Gambhir, Pollard who was hitting sixes at will ran out of partners. It was match where both Pollard and Tiwary had a point to prove to their detractors that they belong to the top flight. The immensely talented Tiwary finally displayed his true potential as he scored his maiden century on a difficult track to help India reach a competitive 267 for five

The Bengal boy who has been in the fringes for quite some time and has never really done justice to his talent in the previous five ODI appearances, grabbed the opportunity with both hands to score 104 off 126 balls (10×4, 1×6) before he had to retire due to cramps.

Coming out to bat in the first over of the match with India reeling at 1/2, Tiwary conjured two important partnerships —first 83 runs with stand-in captain Gautam Gambhir (31, 41 balls, 2×4) for the third wicket and then 117 runs for the fourth wicket with Virat Kohli (80, 85 balls, 5×4).

With Sehwag opting to rest, Gambhir won the toss and elected to bat. To his horror, Ajinkya Rahane (0) and Parthiv Patel (0) were dismissed of successive deliveries in Kemar Roach`s opening over. Both deliveries kept low. While Rahane was trapped leg-before, Patel was played on by a delivery that didn`t rise after pitching.

The situation was certainly not conducive for someone who is yet to cement his place in the Indian ODI line-up with a highest score of 24 before this match. However Tiwary started off with confident drive through the mid-off region off Andre Russell`s bowling.

With the pitch keeping on the slower side and the odd-ball shooting up, both Tiwary and Gambhir didn`t take any undue risk and concentrated on taking singles hitting the odd boundary in between. Yet, the team`s 50 came fairly quickly in the 11th over.

Gambhir-Tiwary duo added 83 runs for the third wicket before leg-spinner Anthony Martin got one to pitch on the leg-middle line and straighten to find the skipper plumb in-front. Towary used his feet well against both offie Sunil Narine and Martins.

The Tiwary-Kohli duo played freely and also ran well between the wickets. As Manoj entered the 80`s he started cramping up but manfully carried on. Tiwary`s best shot came when he effortlessly lifted Narine over long-off for a six. As he ran a few singles to reach 99, he was seen in extreme discomfort. A deft glance off Narine brought up the magic figure as a completely drained looking Tiwary acknowledged the standing ovation given by his teammates. But soon after the completion of his landmark, he walked off the field.