As expected, the Windies have already been more than competitive in the one-day series than they were during the Tests against India. They clearly relish white-ball cricket and have the resources to take on the best, as was evident by their displays in Guwahati and especially Visakhapatnam, where they almost pulled off a sensational victory.
I was especially impressed that their young batsmen have led the way, with Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope taking charge. It’s refreshing to see them bat with freedom and positivity. They are creative and powerful, and possess the gift of clearing the boundary with ease, evidenced by the number of sixes they have already struck in the series. Admittedly, the pitches have been flat, but they have made runs against a very good Indian attack, so that should do wonders to their confidence.
Given how much dew there is in Vizag, I was a bit surprised that India skipper Virat Kohli opted to bat first, and more so because he had three spinners in his ranks. Having said that, he perhaps wanted the bowlers to experience the challenge of bowling under pressure. While it is important that the team wins this series, this is also an audition for the bowlers for the World Cup.
The Windies will be a touch disappointed that they had to settle for a tie, losing momentum with the dismissal of Hetmyer and then Rovman Powell. Jason Holder played out several dots to add to the pressure, and the 48th over in which Yuzvendra Chahal conceded just two runs salvaged what appeared a lost cause for the Indians.
While Vizag was a thriller, Guwahati was ridiculously lopsided. The comfort with which India chased down a stiff but par score was astounding. Virat has shown, again, why he is the best batsman in the world. To have got to 10,000 ODI runs in just 205 innings, taking 54 fewer knocks than Sachin Tendulkar, is a tribute to his consistency and hunger, and to the impact he has made on the team since his debut a decade back.
It was delightful to watch Virat and Rohit Sharma play the most conventional strokes during their massive stand in Guwahati. Rohit took a little time to get his bearings, but once he found rhythm, he was unstoppable. When he is firing on all cylinders, he seems to have two or three options to each ball, which is stunning. To me, there is no better sight in modern-day cricket than Virat and Rohit batting in tandem.