India on Wednesday clinched the ODI series against West Indies 2-1 with a comfortable five-wicket victory in the third and final match here, riding on Shikhar Dhawan's sparkling century.
The Indians first restricted West Indies to 263 for five and then overhauled the target with 23 balls to spare to lift yet another ODI trophy at home.
Dhawan stole the limelight with an attacking 119 that came off 95 balls, his fifth ODI hundred, while Yuvraj Singh notched up a 74-ball 55 to seal the issue for the home side at the Green Park Stadium which was hosting an international game after a gap of nearly four years.
It was a welcome return to form for Yuvraj, who cautiously put together 129 runs for the third wicket with Dhawan to set the platform for the easy win.
India's chase did not start on a very good note even though Dhawan made his intentions clear in just the second over of the innings when he clobbered Jason Holder thrice to the fence.
The hosts lost Rohit Sharma in the fifth over with just 20 runs on the board. Rohit gave a straight-forward catch to Dwayne Bravo at the first slip while trying to push at an away going delivery from Ravi Rampaul.
Virat Kohli looked in great touch during his brief 19-run stay but he too was undone by Rampaul's probing length outside the off stump. While trying to leave a delivery at the last moment, the ball just brushed Kohli's bat on to the safe hands of wicket-keeper Johnson Charles.
But from there on it was a Dhawan-Yuvraj show as the duo went about its business in style and shared the run-a-ball century partnership. Dhawan was the aggressive one among the two.
The hallmark of Dhawan's innings was his elegant drives through the extra cover region and short-arm pulls. Dhawan sent the West Indies bowlers' on a leather hunt and found the fence at will. He completely dominated the Caribbean attack and hit as many as 20 boundaries during his fiery knock.
By the time Yuvraj and Dhawan got out, they had ensured the series-clinching victory for India.
Yuvraj was caught by Dwayne Bravo at the slip off Sunil Narine in the 31st over but not before the left-hander reached his fifty which was laced with seven fours. Dhawan finally departed in the 38th over, caught by Dwayne Bravo of his own bowling as the bat turned in his hand.
Dhoni (23 not out) and Ravindra Jadeja (2 not out) completed the formalities for India with consummate ease.
Earlier, the trio of Kieran Powell, Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo struck half-centuries to propel West Indies to a challenging 263 for five.
Powell (70) carried on his good form from the last match and registered his second fifty of the series. Together with Samuels (71), he shared a 117-run second-wicket partnership to lay the foundation for West Indies after the visitors were put into bat by India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Towards the end, Darren Bravo (51 not out) and Darren Sammy (37 not out) played aggressively to take West Indies past the 260-run mark. Comfortably placed at 137 for one at one stage, West Indies looked set for a big score but India staged a comeback with quick wickets to restrict West Indies to the manageable score.
For the hosts, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers with figures of two for 45 from his quota of 10 overs. Dhoni's decision to bowl first after winning the toss did not yield the desired result as his bowlers could pick up just one wicket before Powell and Samuels joined hands to take West Indies forward.
Opener Johnson Charles (11) failed yet again when Bhuvneshwar Kumar went through his defence in the fifth over with a perfect inswinger leaving West Indies at 20 for one. But thereafter Powell and Samuels got together and played sensibly, mixing caution with aggression to stitch a century stand for the second wicket and lay the foundation for a big total. Both Powell and Samuels were cautious in their approach as they brought up the West Indies fifty in 11.3 overs.
Both the batsmen were content to see off the new ball in the morning. The duo kept rotating the strike with ones and twos and punished loose deliveries that came their way. But once they managed to set in their eyes, both Powell and Samuels played freely and in the process brought up their 50-run stand in 53 balls. Samuels finally opened up and welcomed off-spinner R Ashwin with a huge six over long-on as West Indies reached the 100-run mark in 21.2 overs.
Powell was the aggressor as he reached his half-century in 66 balls with the help of six boundaries. Samuels, on the other hand, played second fiddle and took 73 balls to score his fifty. But just when it seemed the duo might run away with the initiative, both Powell, who scored 59 in the last match, and Samuels once again threw their wickets away.
Powell and Samuels, who was dropped on 60 by Virat Kohli at slip off Ravindra Jadeja, failed to convert their fifties into three-figure scores as Ashwin brought India back into the match by dismissing both the set batsmen in a span of 37 balls. Ashwin broke the dangerous-looking 177-run partnership when Powell gave a simple catch to Shikhar Dhawan at short fine-leg trying to sweep the off-spinner. He scored 70 runs off 81 deliveries and struck nine boundaries in the process.
A few overs later, Ashwin was once again in the thick of things when he went through Samuels' defence by luring the batsman with a tossed up delivery. Samuels, who made 71 off 93 balls, laced his innings with seven boundaries and one six. Darren Bravo, on the other hand, started in an attacking fashion and hit Ashwin for a four and six in consecutive balls. West Indies decision to take the batting powerplay in the 35th over backfired as the visitors lost two key wickets scoring just 26 runs.
New man in Lendl Simmons (13) too perished early in search of quick runs. He hit Jadeja for two boundaries in the 39th over before the left-arm spinner took his revenge when the batsman failed to negotiate extra bounce and edged one to Dhoni while going for a cut. Skipper Dwayne Bravo (4) did not help his reputation either and holed out to Ashwin while going for his favourite extravagant lofted shot over extra cover off Mohammed Shami as West Indies slumped to 196 for five from a comfortable position.
But Darren Bravo and Sammy ensured a decent total for their bowlers to defend, stitching unbeaten 69 runs off 49 balls for the sixth wicket. Both Darren Bravo and Sammy used their long handles to great effect.
West Indies -
J Charles b Kumar 11
K Powell c Dhawan b Ashwin 70
M Samuels b Ashwin 71
Darren Bravo not out 51
L Simmons c Dhoni b Jadeja 13
Dwayne Bravo c Ashwin b Shami 4
D Sammy not out 37
Extras (LB-2, WD-3, NB-1) 6
Total (For 5 wickets in 50 overs) 263
Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-137, 3-168, 4-187, 5-196.
Bowling: B Kumar 8-0-42-1, M Sharma 7-0-47-0, Mohammed Shami 10-1-49-1, R Ashwin 10-0-45-2, S Raina 5-0-29-0, R Jadeja 10-0-49-1.
Rohit Sharma c Dwayne Bravo b Rampaul 4
Shikhar Dhawan c&b Dwayne Bravo 119
Virat Kohli c Charles b Rampaul 19
Yuvraj Singh c Dwayne Bravo b Narine 55
Suresh Raina c Charles b Dwayne Bravo 34
MS Dhoni not out 23
Ravindra Jadeja not out 2
Extras: (LB-5, W-4, NB-1) 10
Total: (For 5 wkts; 46.1 overs) 266
Fall of wickets: 1-29, 2-61, 3-190, 4-218, 5-255.
Bowling: Ravi Rampaul 10-1-55-2, Jason Holder 6-0-47-0, Dwayne Bravo 10-0-57-2, Sunil Narine 10-1-32-1, Darren Sammy 3-0-22-0, Lendl Simmons 3-0-17-0, V Permaul 4.1-0-31-0
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